19
Aug
Minuum-Thumb

Here's the problem with mobile keyboards - they take up too much space, but they're too functional to do away with. They're the worst way to input text, with the exception of all of the alternatives. Now that more phones either come with Swype or a default keyboard that replicates its innovation, there's even less of a reason to try out the many other options that are out there. Some third-party keyboards simply feel half-baked, but there are a few that pique our interest. Minuum is one of the latter options.

This minimalist keyboard raised nearly $90,000 on Indiegogo, over eight times what the campaign aimed for. A beta version soon rolled out that was very promising, but it was only available to a limited number of users. Today, that changes. For the most part, the core of Minuum hasn't changed since we took a look at it several months ago, but there are many new features that make this a more complete experience.

Minuum10 Minuum11

How It Works

Minuum takes your usual keyboard and squashes it down into a single row stretching along the bottom of the screen. Since the letters are too small to peck out individually, the keyboard works by guessing what word you're trying to type. Gestures fill in for the lack of on-screen buttons, with swiping to the right inserting a space and swiping to the left deleting characters. It's different from what we're used to, yes, but it feels more like an evolution than a gimmicky attempt at innovation. The video below gives a run-through of how it all works.

What's New

Minuum is no less functional now than it was when we last took a look at it, but some new features have arrived to address some of the weaknesses. For one, users can now activate a full-screen keyboard by pressing down with two fingers at the same time. This might seem like a cop-out, but frankly, there are times when it's nice to have precision. Typing in passwords and web addresses are two such times.

Minuum1 Minuum2

By default, Minuum's keys and suggestion bar together consume only 240 pixels of screen real estate. If this is just too small, it's all customizable. Users can also add in a dedicated space bar. In addition to these new options, punctuation is now easier to type than before. It's a smooth improvement that saves a lot of time.

Minuum8 Minuum9

While the keyboard defaults to QWERTY, users can change the layout to QWERTZ, AZERTY, or alphabetical order. The default layout worked well for me, but I was also surprised to see that switching to alphabetical was a very easy adjustment to make. I would suggest giving it a try, even if you don't stick with it.

Minuum5 Minuum6 Minuum7

For those times when it's nice to type hands-free, Minuum has added Google Voice Typing support. Just swipe to the left diagonally to activate voice-to-text. The voice functionality's the same as other keyboards, but it's a much faster trigger than most alternatives offer by default.

Minuum12

Should You Download It?

I won't dare suggest that this is the one keyboard to rule them all, but I'm impressed, and I applaud what the Minuum team has managed to achieve here. If your current keyboard suits you fine, stick with it, but I will say that this is the first innovation since Swype that I consider worth investing effort into getting used to. Now that the beta is available to everyone, you might owe it to yourself to take it for a spin. Just know that the keyboard is currently only available in English, and unfortunately, there's no free trial available for the time being. If you want to try out Minuum right this moment, you will have to pay $3.99 to do so.

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. He now lives in the City of Bridges, adjusting to the presence of actual snow. His phone of choice is the HTC One.

  • Matthew

    Cute but still can't beat Swiftkey. I'm not a tablet owner, perhaps it would be better suited there, don't know but honestly I can't see Swiftkey being topped. Also I'm from Toronto so props to UofT students developing this, seems Toronto is a hotbed for tech.

  • http://platypus.blox.pl/ najodleglejszy

    no Polish, no love from me.

    • Matthew Fry

      They intend on adding languages but are working out the kinks with English only.

      • http://platypus.blox.pl/ najodleglejszy

        and THEN I'll love'em.

        • Thatguyfromvienna

          Dobrze powiedziane. ^^

    • JazliAziz

      I think this will be the main gripe with all multi-lingual users. I'll never leave SwiftKey for the simple fact that it can juggle both English and my mother tongue simultaneously.

      • KiraV

        Same. I'd love to use Minuum, but since I have to write daily both in English and Italian (often even within the same sms/email) there's no way I'm moving from Swiftkey until they'll have the simultaneous multilingual support.

    • tracer123

      siemasz strary :D

  • Pablo Pellicer

    Looks great, can't wait until they start supporting other languages.

    • charlesnye325

      til I looked at
      the check for $8748, I didn't believe ...that...my mother in law could truly
      erning money part-time on their apple laptop.. there uncle had bean doing
      this for only seventeen months and resently cleared the depts on there
      apartment and purchased a new Saab 99 Turbo. read more at, http://www.Prℴ67.cℴℳ

      • Thatguyfromvienna

        Your mother in law got that check for more personal services, mate.

        Now get off here with your stupid spam.

    • Thatguyfromvienna

      Yep. It's a total deal breaker for me.

    • Omar

      I doubt it will be as functional with other languages but if they pull it off I'd be extremely impressed.
      No, seriously. That'd be one fuck of an accomplishment. I'd buy it on both my Gmails.

  • ymirushn

    this is fantastic for typing in landscape!

    • Thatguyfromvienna

      Should work indoors as well.

      SCNR

  • jimsis

    Tried it and sadly refunded :-( Standard Google Keyboard with 'swipe' function good enough to prevent me investing the time in something new.

    • Matthew Fry

      If you take the time you'll be impressed. I had to stop using it because it was so frustrating to use in the address bar, typing passwords, or manually adding a word. They've got a full keyboard for those situations now and I'm back using it again and loving it. Almost all of the new features are the very popular user requests on the support page. This is something I'm very happy about because Swype and SwiftKey are extremely reticent to add anything they don't want even if all the users want it.

  • RitishOemraw

    Before I can even start to contemplate buying this there is one Swiftkey feature that I just can't go without. So please let it be in this app.
    Can anyone tell me if it, like swiftkey, allows for 2 languages to be input at the same time (and still predict adequately)?

    Having the ability of typing in my native language and in english without the need to switch in some form is what keeps me locked in swiftkey...I tried Google's native keyboard, but the single language feature made short work of that attempt. If only more keyboards allowed for that. Do does this one? Pretty please?

    • Thatguyfromvienna

      That's exactly what Swiftkey never does properly for me.
      I use German / English / French and when I swipe an obviously German text, SK will happily suggest English words.
      Since this feature works so incredibly poorly, I stick with Swype where at least I can within half a second choose the language to suggest from.

      • Amer Khaznadar

        Agreed. That "future" is why I stopped using Swiftkey. When I'm writing in English I expect suggestions that are in English, not in French and definitely not in Arabic which uses a completely different alphabet to begin with.

      • RitishOemraw

        Works nearly perfect for me (Dutch and English)
        Maybe 3 languages is to much.
        But it is the reason that Swiftkey has a hold on me, though if they had a demo and it works fine + saves screenspace I'd buy it after the demo

  • http://404err0r.com/ Henry Park

    I really love all these keyboards, but I need mine with Korean supported and a lot of these startups have hard time with non-latin based languages.

    pen-8 was the only one who did so right out of the box, but didn't really work for me :/

  • Casin

    There's 2 really annoying bugs since the last update so beware. If you select another prediction from the default one, it automatically adds a period for some reason. And in a web browser, if you select another prediction from the default one, it appends the new prediction to the first one instead of replacing it. I hope these get fixed.

  • mlj11

    Argh. If there is a type of app that really needs a trial version, keyboards are it.

    To the Minuum devs: if you're reading this, please seriously consider providing one based on your latest version!

    • Ray

      Totally agree. At $4.20 there is no way I'm taking a gamble on it. Sorry Minuum, without some form of trial, you've lost me already.

      • notsocheap

        Yes, because $4.20 would be a devastating loss if it turns out you don't like it. I never understand why people are so cheap when it comes to apps.

        • Joseph Cascio

          If you are giving away $4.20 I'll take it.

        • Ray

          I really hate people who push this crap!

          I'd hate to think just how much money I've spent purchasing apps with absolutely no intention of actually using them. Not to mention the donations made on top of those purchases.

          I've got no problems what so ever throwing a few dollars at developers who make incredible apps. Franco.kernel updater is the latest one I recently purchased for $5~. Notif Pro was another.

          I've got no use for either of those apps what so ever (I don't even have them installed on my phone or tablet) but considering the amount of effort that went into developing them and still continues - they look great, follow Android design guidelines - I decided to purchase them to help further development.

          So you my friend can jam your comment right your date!

          • Qorse

            And then he can go fuck himself, since you were being so nice about it. I'm not the kind of person who buys everything sitting on the checkout counter when I go to the hardware store. I buy what I have in my cart. Sheesh. Lets just start throwing money off of tall buildings while we're at it.

          • sean

            If it was a game I would agree with you 100% The only thing is this isn't just a subjective critique. This is about whether or not this will work with a person's hands.

            This is basically buying clothing without trying them on with no return policy. Sure, There is the 15 minute window but that doesn't give a proper try out.

            I wouldn't mind paying $4 or $5 for a keyboard that works exactly the way they said for MY hands...err...digits

            I would like for them to show confidence in their product to show off a demo. Yes they are costly and does not guarantee sales. That is true mostly for video games.

            A week or a month fro now a new keyboard will come out saying the same thing AND will offer a demo. I will support them because they supported me with a demo.

    • Gandalf_Teh_Gray

      Yep, it's how Swiftkey got me. Helped that it went on sale, but the trial made it worth it.

  • Evan

    It seems like a good idea, and much smoother than Fleksy, but the "swipe down" gesture is way too sensitive. I find it near impossible to write anything because it keeps switching between keyboards instead of inputting letters.

    Hopefully an update will have a way to tune the sensitivity of gestures (on a per-gesture basis)

  • Thatguyfromvienna

    Under "Should You Download It?", you might want to add that it's currently English only, rendering it useless for quite a bunch of users.

    • http://bertelking.com/ Bertel King, Jr.

      Good point. Added.

      • Thatguyfromvienna

        Great, thanks.

  • ErmNo
  • CyanogenMod User

    Does this mean those who originally supported and funded them on indiegogo have to buy it again or?

  • http://shanked.me/ Shank

    The last time I tried Minuum, my biggest complaint was that my thumbs would cramp if I used two fingers on the screen too much. I may try it again, but it's definitely something odd, that's for sure.

  • Maxime MARAIS

    A beta you have to pay for? Kidding, right?

  • CaibreGreyblade

    Does this app works only with english?

    • s427

      Yes, for now. However they are considering supporting more languages (starting with French). From what I read, each language needs a special treatment to be properly supported, which is why it may take some time.

  • MarDinGir

    I have been using Minuum for about 3 months, now, and I love it! It is easy to use and works well with my tiny Gio and my Tab 2 7.0. For me, it is the only keyboard to use. It still does have issues, but that is what a beta is for.

  • dreamkiller

    Download the minuum keyboard apk for free.. visit
    windroidblog.blogspot