For any touch-first operating system the built in system keyboard is the most important method of input. Microsoft, with Windows Phone 7 and 8, introduced a new keyboard was deemed as one of the fastest and accurate keyboards of the time. Windows Phone 8.1 brought Word Flow which significantly improved input speed by bringing swipe.
Windows Phone 8.1 showed how good Microsoft is at designing fast, accurate and easy to use onscreen keyboards and Windows 10 Mobile isn’t any different. The new keyboard is faster than ever, albeit still unstable and erratic, and brings many new features to the table.
Let us go over the new features then!
PRECISION POINTING STICK
Just the Thinkpad’s red nub, it is used to improve pointer accuracy, but in this case to move the cursor along a text box to get it perfectly in the desired location. Microsoft has done the needful by providing a setting for placing it either on the Left or Right side of the keyboard.
Voice input in Windows Phone has always been an optional choice by a developer which led to inconsistency in certain apps where Microsoft apps had Voice input while 3rd-party apps did not due to the extra effort required to add them.
With Windows 10 Mobile, Microsoft has ditched the option within a text box and implemented in straight within the keyboard. Now one can easily reply to their best friend or email their boss without even typing by using this feature. Since it is now integrated with the keyboard, the sky is the limit to what you can do with this.
SEE WORD WHILE SWIPING
This is something which has been on Android since they introduced swipe in Google keyboard, but now Microsoft catches up and finally one can see the word they are about to input before they input. Confusing…? Just look at the gif.
This is a very nice addition to Windows 10 Mobile keyboard.
NEW EMOJI ICONS
Emoji icons on Windows Phone have always been a mess but now Microsoft is refining them and has started updating them slowly. They now look much better than before.
So what is next? Varied skin tone emojis?
Any keyboard on a 5.5-inch+ screen is a mess where one-handed usability is concerned. Microsoft has now made the keyboard undockable and can be moved around the entire screen to boost one-handed usability and productivity.
SWITCHING BETWEEN KEYBOARDS
A simple flick and done! Flicking in a direction will quickly change the keyboard language which is relatively much faster than before.
That is all the new features that Microsoft has introduced with the new Windows 10 Mobile keyboard. The keyboard also has a number of UI and design changes to fit the new “thin & simplistic” design of Windows 10. Hopefully Microsoft bundles more features in the keyboard as we approach Windows 10 Mobile RTM expected in late-September or early-October.
Do our readers like the new keyboard? Let us know in the comments below.