Yes, You Can Actually Type on a Smartwatch

By Sean Hollister on at

But not just any one. You’d need the iType Smartwatch, a crowdfunded Android wearable coming this July, priced $235 (£150). I’m always sceptical of Kickstarter projects, and smartwatches, and honestly I’m just kind of a sceptical guy! So when the keyboard actually worked, I was pretty surprised.

Yes, You Can Actually Type On a Smartwatch

How the heck does anyone tap on all these tiny letters? The answer: they don’t. Because you’re actually pressing much larger buttons than you’d think by looking at the picture above.

Yes, You Can Actually Type On a Smartwatch

There are actually just six letter keys, because each of them is multiple letters in one. If you want to write the word “Doing,” you’d tap the “ASDF” key for a D, the “GHJKO” key for an O, the “TYUILP” key for an I, the “BNM” key for a N, and then the “GHJKO” key once more for a G. Or swipe through them, if you’d rather not tap. Swipes work too.

With those five keys pressed in that particular order, the computer can predict that “doing” was the word you meant—and if not, you’ll find extra choices in the autocorrect pane up top.

But you don’t need to think about it all that much, because the keys are in the same places you’d expect on any other QWERTY keyboard. Pretty smart! I was able to hunt-and-peck full sentences within a minute or two, and the company’s Ryan Ghassabian just blazes like you wouldn’t believe.

The only major hangup for me were words that aren’t in the dictionary, which take a few extra swipes to add.

Yes, You Can Actually Type On a Smartwatch

Would I rather type on a watch than pull out my phone, though? I don’t know about that... and I definitely don’t think I’d back this chunky smartphone-of-a-watch to get a wrist typing experience.

The software keyboard is the brainchild of SnapKeys, which produced the Si keyboard we wrote about a few years back, and is now looking for a way to make some money on its idea. So it spun out a subsidiary, TypeTime, to sell this smartwatch version to manufacturers. It could wind up becoming part of a Google smartwatch some day, if a manufacturer bites, but in the meanwhile it’s trying to sell us on a cheap Chinese smartwatch that requires its own SIM card, phone number, and 3G data plan.

The company’s pitching it as a watch that could replace your phone, since it runs full Android applications, and I admit it’s pretty cool firing up a mini web browser to load up Gizmodo on the go. I’m pretty eager to see if anyone else likes the idea of typing on a wristable, though.

Want to read about some more crazy keyboards? Here you go.

Yes, You Can Actually Type On a Smartwatch

Yes, You Can Actually Type On a Smartwatch

Yes, You Can Actually Type On a Smartwatch

Yes, You Can Actually Type On a Smartwatch

Yes, You Can Actually Type On a Smartwatch

Yes, You Can Actually Type On a Smartwatch

[Kickstarter]