15
Jul
gJTlbD4-

Perhaps you've tried the Minuum keyboard on your phone or tablet. It's designed to take up as little space as possible on the screen with just a single line of keys, which is great for smaller screens. How small, though? The developers think smart watch size sounds good, so they are working on Minuum for Android Wear. There's a beta you can try to get into as well.

The video shows someone pecking at the compressed Minuum keyboard. While it looks a little weird, it does seem to work. Minuum uses very strong autocorrect and predictions to make a single line of keys work, but it's hard to get used to on a phone. On a smart watch the alternative is not typing at all, so Minuum has that going for it. Maybe it'll work and maybe it won't, but it was probably smart for Google to avoid the keyboard thing on a watch, just in case it's bad. That way if things don't work, it's just a bad app, not a bad smart watch platform.

It isn't clear how the keyboard will work yet – does Android Wear even allow touch text input in apps or will Minuum have to build its own keyboard-enabled shells? If you're intrigued and have an Android Wear watch, sign up for the beta and wait to be called upon.

[Minuum Beta]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • http://communityfirstdigital.co.uk/ Luke Arran

    Still looks easier to pull my phone out and type.

    • remister

      Or respond by voice. It sucks that voice doesn't capitalize the first letter of the sentence!

      • FranklinNL

        If you add punctuation, it does capitalize the first letter.

  • Jason

    WOW, Just WOW. Do we not have enough distractions as people already, now we can type on a fn watch? Smart phones/watches/gear,etc are making people dumber. Too many distractions and hardly any laws to prevent drivers from using these things while driving. Bad enough we have people using a phone and texting while driving, now these "dumb watches." The US Needs a blanket law to prevent these types of devices from being used by the driver at all times in the driver seat. A kill switch isn't good enough. People driving do not care about those around them. A coffee drink in one hand, phone in the other. Whats on the wheel, a knee, maybe. Sadly it takes place every day.

    • AbbyZFresh

      The 20th Century is that way grandpa.

      • jr

        21st, junior.

        • I make sounds

          *whoosh*

    • http://halljake.com Jake Hall

      What we need is people who understand real world use and risk making policies, not evangelical reactionaries.

    • Matt Terk

      It's called Reckless Driving. That's the law you're thinking of.

    • NF

      There's already a solution to the problem: make cars drive themselves. DUIs are also a huge problem.

  • Roberto Estivill

    would like to see how it works on circular watches

    • AbbyZFresh

      That is what i'm most worried about. It currently doesn't look optimized for round screens.

    • Mark Ryan
      • xnadax

        If only the Moto 360 display were as round in reality as it is in their little gif animation.

  • John Fah-q Smith

    I'll just slide my keyboard out, I am not some ignorant iPhone "user"...

  • Matt Terk

    Has anyone gotten the email on how to install this yet? I signed up, but no information.

  • tdurden64111

    No.

  • cmbeid

    There are plenty of times I am sitting at my desk working and I get a text. I look at my watch, read it and want to quickly respond. Using my voice at work is distruptive to my coworkers, so now I have to pull out my phone and navigate to the conversation. It would be much easier to tap out a short, quick message on the watch.

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

      Now this is a man who understands that there are certain applications to things that may look pointless at first thought. If it's useful in one or two places, just use it there and not everywhere else.

    • verboze

      If you're at your desk at work, I assume you're in front of a computer? Have you considered mighty text or similar? Could be less disruptive to your workflow than pecking away at a tiny keyboard on a watch.

      • cmbeid

        I use both Hangouts and Google Voice, both of which are blocked at work. Luckily Android Police nor Discus commenting are not blocked...

        • David Spivey

          I don't have a complete solution, but it seems you could hack something together using wifi keyboard from the play store. There are issues with doing it this way, since the input box would already need to be focused to send text. Alternatively, you might be able to root and use TeamViewer QuickSupport to completely control your phone from the computer. These are just suggestions to get you (and others) thinking. There are other ways to do it as well (from your computer). It just takes a little creativity.

          • CoreRooted

            Many companies have things locked down so completely that things like this are impossible. My "official" work computer has nearly everything blocked in terms of external communications. USB is also blocked here. So, connecting my phone to anything doesn't happen. I can reply to messages directly from my phone or not at all.

          • David Spivey

            Well, at least WiFi Keyboard runs over the local network. IDK about TeamViewer. I assume that you have access / are connected to the company WiFi with your phone. If you are, then I really don't see how / why device-to-device communication inside the network would be blocked. Although, I am not working for such a net-blocked company, so I really wouldn't know.

          • CoreRooted

            I'm a government employee. No WiFi access at all. Many government offices are going this same path lately (some faster than others). Fortunately, I'm in IT, so I have a little bit of wiggle room. Our common user, however, can't even choose to use a browser aside from IE. We are locked down that tightly.

        • CoreRooted

          Exactly the same situation here. I can't use ANY 3rd party apps that connect to my phone (no MightyText, no SMS apps, no Hangouts or CV, etc). Being able to quickly reply from my watch would be awesome.

    • slurivariv

      I agree totally. I'll be getting this and using it in quick, "ok im coming" scenarios. I wouldn't type up a full report with Minuum on Wear, but to let a friend know something really quick would be perfect as opposed to shouting at my watch.

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

    Just because a device is supposed to and does work the way it was meant to doesn't mean we can't make it do things that deviate from that paradigm.

    Feel free not to use it, but I can see instances where a keyboard like this would be preferable for quick replies (when you can't use voice). Still quicker than pulling out your phone if the keyboard works really well. Think just 1-3 word replies. 

    Oh, and unless you've used an Android Wear device for longer than a day, you should probably reserve judgement about the usefulness of things like a keyboard or a launcher.

    • Matt Terk

      Hey artem, did you get into the beta? Have an opt in link? Their email system let me sign up but isn't sending me the instructions

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

        I signed up, but haven't gotten in yet.

        • Matt Terk

          They finally sent mine. Involves flashing the app via adb, I'm not sure I'm comfortable doing that to my new watch. Might wait for a more reasonable install.

      • cmbeid

        They are probably waiting for a number of people to sign up and email at once.

        • Matt Terk

          Sounds like they were having some email difficulties, mine arrived

    • CoreRooted

      "Oh, and unless you've used an Android Wear device for longer than a day, you should probably reserve judgement about the usefulness of things like a keyboard or a launcher."

      This has to be the BEST thing I have seen said yet. Thank you for saying that.

    • Chad Gauthier

      Instead of having a keyboard for these cases what about just simple canned responses that you can set? Maybe 1-3 words is quicker than pulling out the phone, but there has got to be an easier way to do what you need without resorting to having a ridiculous tiny keyboard.

      I have had the G Watch for 5 days.

  • jr

    This is a misplaced idea. Wear is being warped into Android Phone Lite©. Wear should augment the phone experience, not replace it. Even Google's style guide advises against requiring fine motor skills for an app. I guess time will tell if this sort of thing will catch on.

  • http://www.scottcolbert.com/ ScottColbert

    While I can't see myself using it, having the choice to utilize it isn't a bad thing.

  • DemandTrialByCombat

    You know..why don't we just put chrome remote desktop app on the watch and write apps for android wear on it?..smh!

  • Deeco

    Google buyout in a couple of weeks...

  • black

    I bet it'll suck on the moto's round (narrower) screen.

  • Nick Tsiotinos

    I want Google Play movies on Android Wear!!! Can't wait to watch movies on my watch heh heh heh......

  • Nick Tsiotinos

    I've installed the beta - but the keyboard isn't coming up - waiting on support to let me know what is wrong....