Scribbles 'n Bits
February 13th, 2024

Loopy Keyboards

I'm such a sucker for absolutely bonkers software keyboards for mobile phones?

I used (and kind of loved) a bunch of different keyboards back in the day, including the super-low-profile Minuum and gesture-powered Fleksy. But one of the wildest (and most interesting) keyboards I tried was 8pen.

Seriously, look at this ridiculous layout:
Colored lines intersect behind a magnifying glass, which centers on letters and symbols arranged in a circle on a white background - but it's a keyboard, somehow?
Colored lines intersect behind a magnifying glass, which centers on letters and symbols arranged in a circle on a white background - but it's a keyboard, somehow?
It's wild, right? Once I figured out how to use it, I got to be pretty fast and accurate at text entry - and it's designed in such a way that (once you learn it) you don't have to look at the keyboard at all.

8pen was (perhaps predictably) abandoned at some point, but I just discovered that there's a refreshed, expanded, and open-source clone of it now:

8vim Keyboard

It's also been enhanced with Vim-inspired editor ability, or something.

I used 8vim to type (some) of this message and it only took forever. I'm sure I will get the hang of this again in no time.

A smartphone screen displaying a text editor app with a unique keyboard layout. The text discusses an open-source clone of an abandoned project, 8vim Keyboard, and mentions the user's experience adapting to it.
A smartphone screen displaying a text editor app with a unique keyboard layout. The text discusses an open-source clone of an abandoned project, 8vim Keyboard, and mentions the user's experience adapting to it.