Google faces many interesting challenges with Android Auto. It seems like a simple task to build an interface that is less messy and more enjoyable than existing in-car systems. Given the low bar set by most existing platforms, this doesn't sound very difficult. However, Google is taking advantage of more advanced technology and clever design so Auto isn't just another small iterative step forward. A teardown of the latest update shows some interesting progress on new input methods that don't require as much attention and a parking assistant feature that remembers where you left your vehicle.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (application packages) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
It seems that the creators of 8pen have been listening intently to user feedback on their radical new input method (see our original post for a video demonstration), because yesterday they released a rather nice update. One of the main issues of contention that Android users had with 8pen was that it was not free, and simply took too long to get used to to trial fairly within the Android Market's 24-hr refund period. It appears that 3qubits have either made enough money from 8pen already, or are planning to pursue a different revenue model, since this update removes the entry fee altogether.
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?