Keybee First Look: One Handed Typing, But How Easy Is It To Ditch QWERTY?

The  QWERTY keyboard has made surprisingly few advancements since its early 1870s invention.  While the technology using QWERTY keyboards has changed drastically, the layout has remained relatively static. From typewriters to computers to now our phones and tablets, the arrangement of the keyboard has changed very little. Keybee is looking to fix that by updating the keyboard for touch phone devices.

Part of the reason keyboards have changed so little is because they were fantastically designed.  Depending on the language there are slight variations, but each of them are designed to put your fingers closest to the letters you use most often. But the way you place your hands on a computer and the way you hold a phone is completely different.

The Keybee has been in production since 2012, before releasing for Android last month. It updates the keyboard by following the same principals behind the original. Putting the space bar and the letters most often used where your thumb naturally lies, the center of your phone. From there it builds outwards in a honeycomb fashion. This design gives an average of around 40 percent reduction in the needed movement while typing.

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I have installed the program on my Galaxy Nexus and while I haven’t had enough time to give it a definitive review, I can already see how it could help. It is much easier to reach the keys, and the space bar (in this case, the space key) feels completely natural. With practice, I can already see how the Keybee could change keyboards on touch devices forever.

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However, people are notoriously lazy. We don’t often break habits, unless we have to. I have spent more than two decades learning the QWERTY keyboard and that kind of muscle memory isn’t easily emulated, regardless of how effectively the keys are placed. It is easy to convince someone like me to switch, someone who is fascinated by more efficient ways of doing things, but a more general audience might have trouble.

The Keybee keyboard is still in its early stages. No predictive algorithms have yet been installed, but that is likely coming at some point. In the meantime, I have been trying to relearn how to type, if I manage to do it, you may see a full review soon.

[Photo Credit: Keybee FB]
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  1. February 26, 2014

    Hmmm …. its really gonna take some time to adjust to Keybee coming from QWERTY. I am so used to qwerty now and switching to this one …. I dont know how I am gonna do that.

  2. Johann von Schadowitz
    February 26, 2014

    Looks a bit like a Hex-Remix of MessagEase.
    Another keyboard for fast writers is Fleksy – the layout is traditional but the prediction is said to be great and it also can be put into invisible mode:

  3. freddo
    February 26, 2014

    Just to correct some of the mistakes. Qwerty was actually invented to SLOW down typists. If you have ever used an old typewriter – if you type too fast the keys hit each other and get stuck. Qwerty was designed to fix the problem by slowing down typists – it’s the opposite of efficient it’s designed to be inefficient. The Dvorak keyboard was designed for efficiency once computer keyboards came into use. But by then everyone was used to qwerty and nobody changed.