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August 27, 2015

5 smartphone keyboards to boost mobile productivity

There are better ways to type on your smartphone.

By Alexander Sword

We’re carrying out an ever-increasing number of tasks on our mobile phones, both work and personal. So many of these tasks involve typing, yet we are forced to use a miniature version of the desktop ‘QWERTY’ keyboard at great inconvenience. Here are some better ways to type on your smartphone.


1. Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard

Launched earlier this year, this physical keyboard from the Windows giant is designed for portability and convenience. It can be simultaneously paired with two mobile devices, with the user able to switch between them with a single touch.

Compatible with devices from all operating systems, the 5mm thin keyboard folds neatly in half. It provides up to three months usage from a single charge.

CBR found the device online around the £75 mark.


2. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ Keyboard Cover

For those who still crave the built-in keyboard of the circa-2003 BlackBerry, a keyboard case provides a strong substitute. Designed for Samsung‘s recently launched S6 Edge+ and manufactured by the Korean giant itself, this case simultaneously protects your device and provides you with a physical QWERTY keyboard.

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Slim and portable, the case provides specialised hot keys for convenience, allowing you to quickly access features on your smartphone. It uses Bluetooth to simply pair with your device.

The device is available for around £60.


3. Keyboard Buddy

For iPhone 6 users, Keyboard Buddy provides an equivalent product, although being a third-party product it may not match up to their design expectations.

A handy feature of the Bluetooth device is its slide-out feature; once it is activated, the iPhone 6’s on-screen keyboard disappears to provide greater space on the screen. It boasts a reasonable battery life of 2 weeks and is chargeable by micro-USB.

The device sits in the £50 to £60 price range online.


4. SwiftKey

While Android has allowed custom keyboards for a while due to its more open architecture, Apple has only allowed third-party keyboards since iOS 8. SwiftKey serves both operating systems with a re-imagined virtual keyboard that caters more to the needs of a smartphone user.

A key feature in this reinvention is SwiftKey Flow, which allows you to type by sliding your finger from letter to letter rather than hitting every key. The app also has an intelligent autocorrect system that learns from your writing style to provide more personalised word suggestions.

Best of all, SwiftKey is completely free from the App Store and Google Play.


5. Celluon EPIC Laser Projection Bluetooth Virtual Keyboard

Anyone who’s seen the film Minority Report will have been awaiting this kind of technology eagerly for a long time. Compatible with any Bluetooth device, the device from Epic laser-projects a virtual keyboard for your use onto any flat, opaque surface.

The user can then type as normal on this surface, with simulated key-click sounds available if you are not yet quite ready to let go. The device is also fully portable, slightly larger than a matchbox and weighing a meagre 7 oz.

CBR found the device selling for between £80 and £100.

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