A couple of days ago, French company 3qubits unveiled their unique take on what they imagined touchscreen keyboards of the future would look like. Starting with the notion that a full QWERTY layout could never fit properly on a handheld touchscreen device, they set about  creating something entirely different. What they came up with is 8pen, which was released to the Android Market moments ago.

It's pretty crazy. Not quite as crazy as Dasher (free on Android), but indisputably one of the more radical input methods we've seen on Android so far. Will it oust Swype as the go-to slide-type keyboard? We're not so sure. After all, the gesture it takes to write one letter with 8pen is often as long as it takes to write whole words with Swype. However, as with anything this drastically different, there is a steep learning curve to be conquered and we can see 8pen gaining some ardent followers.

Check out the official video at the link below for a more thorough demonstration and explanation of 8pen's capabilities.


8pen is available for £0.99 in the marketplace for Android 1.6+ devices.


Source: reddit

Official demo video: The 8pen

Brian O'Toole
Having learnt his writing techniques reading e-Books of Sherlock Holmes, Brian now spends his time /kicking, lurking, SSHing and encoding.
  • http://www.hollercentral.com boomdraw

    this is nice but I doubt it will take off. people are too lazy to get used to new things, and this seems like it would require some patience as well as some practice. personally, I'd rather use swype over this.

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    It's like a more polished, slightly more compact version of Dasher. Also, slow and pointless IMO. Just as some others mentioned, we moved away from rotary phones for a reason.

  • chris ponciano

    First thoughts are its swype meets rotary phone. Neat, but QWERTY was designed pretty damn intelligently back in the day, and i've been using it for 24 years, it just works. Swype was nice but QWERTY just feels natural and faster. i chalk this up as
    "Yet another mobile keyboard trying to reinvent the wheel"

  • jurrabi

    Horrible, horrible idea.

    It takes a good swipe to just get 1 letter... with swype you get a full word with similar gestures...

  • Magnus

    Tested, feels easy to use, as soon as you remember letter placement, and is impossible to misstype, and easier to write without looking, but also a lot slower than Swype or SlideIT, if u can look at the keyboard.

    Dasher is a completely different thing, where you just move your finger up and down, and mostly hold it still, perfect for other kinds of devices, or people who have to use eye-tracker to write instead of hands.

  • swype_

    damn good way to wear the hell out of your thumb joint!

    On a similar note... what is happening with swype? Anyone know... my stopped working when i went to froyo and so i go to the webpage and the login is all messed up!
    Their forum looks like a damn geocity webpage and the "fix" they recommend to just reconfigue it to the new device is a ballbreaker!
    When the hell are they going to let the beta users have a proper app instead of a mail order bride crap!
    Dammit man they put it on every other damn device and are trying to get it onto iphone but the beta users have to be at their mercy!

    Sorry to rant but icbf signing up to their forums!