I love me some Microsoft keyboards - for my money their layout and key designs beat Logitech any day. The company's latest entry into the mobile accessory market is a Bluetooth keyboard designed to be as tiny and compact as possible, folding lengthways into a rough square just 5.8 inches across and less than half an inch thick, about the same size as a CD case. Fold it open and you've got a full six-row keyboard ready to be paired with a phone, tablet, or even a full desktop computer, and Microsoft claims that the Universal Foldable Keyboard is made with Android, iOS, and Windows in mind.
This morning, a company called NowSecure published an exploit claiming to affect SwiftKey on Samsung devices that they assert could impact "600 million+" devices. Well, maybe.
While we cannot verify the true seriousness of the security flaw were an attacker to successfully manage to exploit it, we were able to verify something substantially more important to end user safety - it does not affect the SwiftKey app, only the built-in Samsung IME which is partly developed by SwiftKey.
The idea of portable, folding keyboards has been around for a number of years now - I recall having one from Boxwave many years ago that I used with my Dell Axim x51v pocket PC. It was totally useless, but man I felt cool popping those two things out at coffee shops to do...whatever I did back then. I can't recall, to be honest with you. But that's not important. What is important is that the folding keyboard is back, better than ever, and we have some to give away.
Swype, at its core, helps us be lazy. Want to type? Don't bother lifting up your thumb. Don't know how to spell? Just get close. Sure, these are only the byproducts of creating an input method that takes the pain out of using touchscreens, but the end result is the same. And things are only getting easier.
The latest update reduces the need to hold down keys with numbers as secondary characters or switch back and forth between alphabetical and numerical keyboards. If you peck away at letters with a number attached, Swype will include numerical values among its suggestions. So you can enter $650 by typing sytp or 2:30 by entering wjep.
April was a bit sparse when it comes to new apps - there aren't any real standouts, though Facebook certainly made a splash with its self-branded phone dialer. The rest of the best picks from last month are mostly advanced tools for power users, or in the case of the impressive edjing, experienced music producers. Here in no particular order are our picks for the best of the lot, plus a few honorable mentions that might have broader appeal.
Update Wednesdays are always exciting, but particularly so when Google releases a new app. Today, Google has hit "publish" on Google Handwriting Input, a new keyboard option that - as the name implies - allows users to type by handwriting text in 82 languages.
Google says the app supports print and cursive, written with or without a stylus. If you draw a smiley face, Handwriting Input will even suggest emojis.
Of course the input method is styled to resemble Google's other input methods, using the same light grey and teal (or dark blue-grey and teal if you choose the dark theme) colors found in Google's main Keyboard app.
February saw some considerable new apps, both in terms of new services like YouTube Kids and Sling TV, and in expanded tools like PhotoMath and Microsoft's first custom keyboard for Android. If you find it hard to see the tiny type on your new ultra-high-res phone, check out BIG Notifications. Below are our top seven picks from last month, along with some honorable mentions.
I'm going to be honest, when Mad Catz announced the $300 controller/stand/keyboard/Bat'leth that is the LYNX 9, I thought the company had gone off the deep end. But their latest Bluetooth combo gadget actually looks sort of cool. Say hello to the The S.U.R.F.R (yeah, the names haven't gotten any better), a Bluetooth controller that crams in a thumb-sized keyboard in a pocket-friendly form factor.
There are two kinds of physical keyboard users: those who never touch the 10-key area (that's the bit on the right that kinda looks like a calculator) and those who will only let you take their 10-key away when you pry it from their cold, dead hands. There's a reason you see a little add-on USB 10-key in that one aisle at Best Buy: data entry experts, especially those that work with Microsoft Excel, need those extra keys like Texans need 15-round ammo magazines. Well, 10-key addicts, Microsoft is here to help you nurse your addiction on Android.
Redmond has just released Keyboard for Excel, which is (wait for it) an Android virtual keyboard designed to be used with Excel.
Swype, the keyboard that made gesture-based typing famous, is still alive and kicking. The company has just crammed enough new features into its Android app to bump things up to version 1.8.
What's on the changelog? Cool stuff, that's what. Stuff like new Lollipop-friendly themes that even stock Android lovers will be able to install without holding their nose. There's a dark one, a light one, and a third theme called Bumblebee because why not?
Tablet users can now detach their Swype keyboard from the bottom of the screen and move it around however they like. It might make typing a little more awkward, but that is absolutely not the point.