Can't Touch This! (unless you have the hardware, I mean)

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2012/04/04 07:01 -04:00, original URI:

Last week, in The On-Screen Keyboard vs the Touch Keyboard: 2 very different Windows 8 things…, I talked about a new Windows 8 thing, the Touch Keyboard:

Looking at the Windows 8 Touch Keyboard in Cherokee...

All I really did was show that this was not the same as the On-Screen Keyboard, and said it was something that you could get running on any Windows 8 machine but that it was around by default in the case of touch-enabled systems like the Samsung Tablet.

Oh, and I also verified what Roy Boney noted in his mail -- that the layout provided in the case of the Cherokee Phonetic layout wasn't the same as the one provided for regular keyboards -- in this case like the one I previously described in The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 6: Behind the Cherokee Phonetic layout in Windows 8, which he was very familar with.

I'll talk a little bit about that Touch Keyboard (and others as well), to make it easier to understand its design....

The most elemental problem that exists for soft keyboards such as the On-Screen Keyboard (and really anything that tries to emulate a keyboard layout) is that they are provably and consistently less efficient than using a regular physical keyboard layout. From simple issues (like the inability to effectively do traditional touch typing) to more complicated ones (like the hit rate not being as good), the regular keyboard layout with a soft keyboard sitting atop it can't really do as well as that physical keyboard on its own.

So the goal of a non-emulation type soft keyboard layout is to use other ways to bring up the efficiency, ways that regular old keyboard layouts don't have -- like work to predict what you will type by what you have typed (to give one example).

I'm going to talk to the team that has done and is doing that work to see if one of them can go a "guest blog" describing some of their efforts, or if they can just give me some information I can pass along.

Because it is really cool stuff, and I want my readers who are trying out Windows 8 to get the most out of their effort. :-)

In the meantime, I'll figure out what I (a) know well enough to describe and (b) can talk about -- in both the Developer Preview and the Consumer Preview.

For now, people with machines that are touch enabled who are running the Consumer Preview can talk a look at the "General" view under "More PC Settings". It has capabilities that the "non-touch" version of the Consumer Preview doesn't show. :-)

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referenced by

2012/08/29 And they seem to have thus shipped what rightfully should have been exiled from the product

2012/04/24 Can't Touch This! (Though I can TYPE this because I have the hardware, and the keyboard…)

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