Android wear (basically smart watches) have been getting a lot of attention lately and admittedly they’ve improved (love how the Moto 360 looks). However, one of our major gripes has been lack of convenient input modes. You can’t exactly have a full-screen keyboard on a watch screen, nor can do we want to look like complete (your word of choice here) speaking into our watches.
Microsoft’s research department seems to feel the same way and have been working on an Analog Keyboard Project for Android Wear. They’ve released an initial version of the app, which basically allows you to draw letters on the screen using your fingers. It’s nothing new really, you’ve probably seen gesture control apps (like the ones here) and this works much like the Swipe keyboard, however, not nearly as convenient.
You should also read: 5 Useful & Free Android Wear Apps on Google Play Store
You only get to type one letter at a time and then it is recognized and entered into your desired text field. It’s a slow input method, but can work for quick texts like ‘Ok’, ‘DW’, ‘TTYL’ etc (if and when smart watches become common, we’re going to see a lot of short-hand communication and probably the birth of many more acronyms).
Currently the app is only compatible with Android watches supporting 320 x 320 resolutions (Samsung Gear Live and Moto 360) and the installation process isn’t very simple (instructions are provided with the zip file you download – link will be shared below).
There are several limitations to the app as well, such as the inability to use uppercase letters. Microsoft also mentioned that the app will be using your watch’s processing power, which is expected to cause more battery drain than usual (yeah, more charging).
Autocorrect is also not a luxury with this keyboard, but you do get a backspace and a space key on the screen which makes it a little easier.
The video below shows the keyboard in action on a Moto 360.
You can read more about the research and download the Analog Keyboard app for your Samsung Gear Live or Moto 360 here.