The SPB Keyboard is not a new application. Its first version was released in the year 2002. Things have changed multifolds since then. iPhone was released last year and almost all cell phone manufactures as-well-as software houses started focusing on making the user-interface more and more finger-friendly.
The SPB Keyboard promises to change the way one inputs text on their devices. Here is what is hot in this software:
- full screen keyboard
- skin support
- gesture support
- ability to edit and expand user dictionary (which contains words previously entered by user)
The installation can be done by either the EXE (meant to be run on the desktop) or via a CAB file (meant to run on the device itself). The installation went fine with no problems
Let us first take a look at the default keyboard provided in the windows mobile for text entry. It certainly does not look nice for entering text by your thumbs or fingers. Is it? It is more made for stylus data entry.
SPB has understood the current market demand of thumb/finger input without taking the stylus out and this is what makes the SPB Keyboard 4 shines. As you can see in the following screenshot, the keys now looks much more finger-friendly.
When you press any key, the corresponding letter is popped-up which tells the user whether the right key was pressed or not.
Clicking on the ‘Sym’ (symbol) key will provide you with an array of symbols that you may require while entering text
If you press the shift key, you will find other characters too.
If you find the keyboard too big in some application, you can tap-n-hold on the keyboard key that will provide you with a small keyboard. Clicking it again will restore the finger friendly keyboard.
SPB keyboard also offers full screen keyboard. You can activate full screen keyboard by clicking on the keyboard key while you are in the finger friendly keyboard mode. This keyboard is great when you have to enter a lot of text.
Again, clicking on the Sym key will give you an array of symbols.
The new SPB Keyboard can skin itself too. You can obtain them from the SPB website. You can also directly to the skin section by clicking on the “more skins” link, which can be found under its settings.
However, most of these skins are not adaptive and may take additional memory due to use of extra images. The default skin itself can adapt itself to the color of the theme (tsk file) that you are using. Kudos to the SPB guys on this part!
It has multi-language support. A simple tap can let you toggle between various language layouts.
Also, it has abilities to view and edit user dictionary. It also let you set itself as the default keyboard so that you don’t have to activate it everytime you do a soft-reset.
What was missing?
There is no way to modify keyboard layout. This means that you will have to spend some time learning it for few weeks/days. Also, the ‘.’ on the keyboard results in lots of errors while typing in the finger-friendly mode. I also love using the PCM keyboard, which does not have this problem.
Do I recommend it?
Yes, it has multiple data entry modes which let you adapt the keyboard layout according to the requirement. It is also rightly priced at $14.95.
Here is the official webpage of the SPB Keyboard.