Typing apps launch to combat auto-correct errors

Minuum, Swype and Swiftkey replace the iOS and Android keyboards

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Typing apps launch to combat auto-correct errors Walmsley said compressing the keyboard also gives users more screen space and a familiar way of typing without needing to move their fingers up and down.
By  Helen Gaskell Published  October 1, 2014

A new smartphone app has launched which aims to provide better auto-correct and more seamless typing.

Minuum, which is available for iOS and Android, replaces the Qwerty keyboard with alternative designs, such as a single staggered line of characters. It also learns the users’ typing habits to predict what they will type next.

“Your fingers are very large relative to the size of your screen, so the first thing we do is assume that everything you type is sloppy and that you’re making mistakes all the time,” said Will Walmsley, co-founder and chief executive officer of Toronto-based Whirlscape, which created the app.

The app’s algorithms sense the general area that users are typing to predict the word they intend to type, and then provides a list of 10 options.

Walmsley said compressing the keyboard also gives users more screen space and a familiar way of typing without needing to move their fingers up and down.

The app, which costs AED13.99 is available worldwide in English. Android users can also get the app in Spanish, French, German, Dutch, Italian and Russian.

Another app, Swype, lets users glide their fingers over a character instead of tapping. As they do this, algorithms predict the word they intend to type based on the keys their fingers cross.

Aaron Sheedy, vice president of mobile, text and speech at Burlington, Massachusetts-based Nuance, which created the Swype, says it is a more natural function than traditional typing.

“The organic nature of touchscreens is to swipe and glide. But as soon we open the keyboard, we have to grab both our hands and put our thumbs in an unnatural position to start typing away,” he said.

The app’s predictive algorithms learn a user’s language habits over time, including proper nouns that often cause trouble for auto-correction algorithms.

“Our goal is to get the keyboard to understand your words and how you write,” Sheedy said of Swype.

Other popular keyboard apps include SwiftKey and TouchPal, free for iOS and Android, and GIF Keyboard for the iPhone.

Although Android users have been able to replace their keyboards with alternatives, Apple has only recently allowed its users to do so.

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