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November 1, 2010 / michael

The 8pen: Reinventing the keyboard for touch-enabled devices

Here is what we’ve been working on in the past weeks:



We’re very excited about this.



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  1. Rory / Nov 1 2010 1:09 pm

    So this will be available tomorrow in the app store?

  2. Michael / Nov 1 2010 1:10 pm


    • Rory / Nov 1 2010 1:12 pm

      Good, I was about to email you and ask for an early version to review 🙂

  3. Pete / Nov 1 2010 1:33 pm

    Interesting, but Swipe is better, IMHO and requires less motion.

  4. Michael / Nov 1 2010 4:23 pm

    While the gestures for commonly used phrases sounds good, I really can’t imagine this being faster than ShapeWriter/Swype. A gesture for each letter doesn’t seem like it could be faster than a gesture for a full word.

    Plus, it’s a bit annoying to release the video a day before the app. Should be simultaneous.

  5. Leaf / Nov 1 2010 6:37 pm

    Well this looks quite interesting. I will try in out for sure. Ah, for all those folks that say Swype is better, your opinion is instantly disqualified. The reason is that you have not even got to compare it yet. It is only available tomorrow the 2nd. So how could we take you seriously? Cronies I guess. Anyway, I look forward to a new method of writing.

    • Michael / Nov 1 2010 6:44 pm

      I’m sorry, but I’m not really a fan of your blanket statement which seems aimed to include me. “For all those folks” is just one person who said Swype is better.

      I said I don’t understand how a gesture per letter will end up faster than a gesture per word. It logically doesn’t make sense. I also expressed a desire to try out this app.

      Accuracy and respect go much farther than misleading blanket statements. Thanks for your time!

      • Lee / Nov 3 2010 1:04 am

        You are right Michael, I do apologize if I offended. The blanket statement was more to head off any further Swype is better type comments before the beta was out. Not really my place to do that either so I guess the comment was off base. Oh well, no big deal.

  6. max / Nov 2 2010 12:00 pm

    Swype only works if you know where exactly are the characters on the keyboard. This is not my case as I have never taken formal typing classes, too busy studying sciences. Thus, swype does *not* work for me! I am looking forward to try 8pen!

  7. toolplace / Nov 2 2010 12:07 pm

    Thanks for sharing the video.

  8. GreggB / Nov 2 2010 12:36 pm

    Agree that you can’t judge anything whose success is based on “feeling right” until you experience it. I’m guessing that the advantage over swype is that this requires far less precision — and that is not an insignificant advantage given that the problem being addressed is finger size versus keyboard size. Looking forward to it. Agree that it is frustrating to read about it before we can download it.

  9. KylieS / Nov 2 2010 8:21 pm

    I have downloaded and tested it out. Within 1 hour, was already learning where the letters are. Being an avid Swype user, I was skeptical, but I have enjoyed trying out this app and think it has great potential. While it’s not for everyone, I will say that it’s definitely worth giving a shot if you’re not afraid of being impressed with the simplicity but functionality of this application. No, I am not a plant, nor was I paid for this comment.

  10. Ryan Silberman / Nov 2 2010 10:12 pm


    1) I think this will really come into its own when coupled with a device/software like Natal or Kinect where you will not even have to gesture on a screen but rather in fresh air!

    2) I cannot download the app – Stuck in South Africa where we cannot see paid apps in the market. Can see the app on mymarket but will not download. Developers please allow us to pay with paypal in order to download the apk from your site?

  11. Sebastian / Nov 3 2010 5:01 pm

    What particular technical limitation made you have to exclude Android 1.5 devices, and decide to only support Android 1.6 and up? Any chance for 1.5 support in the future?

  12. lopmaj / Nov 4 2010 8:45 pm

    Where can I download this as my market on my Milestone does not have this app available. I live in Costa Rica and would like to try this out as I am not a traditional keyboard person, being inept at the old QWERTY secretarial style of typing

  13. Nick / Nov 4 2010 11:23 pm

    Any way of this making it onto the iphone?

  14. shadowtroop / Nov 5 2010 2:00 am

    I heard you are bring this to iOS. Is this true? If so, are you using the app store or cydia?

  15. Jknash / Nov 5 2010 3:00 pm

    Yea I would so use this but I have an iPhone.

  16. jasonp / Nov 6 2010 4:47 am

    Hi, bought your 8pen app but it doesn’t seem to work on my desire HD. Have seen someone follow the exact same steps on a standard Desire and it works fine? However on mine it just presents the normal keyboard, even though the demo is asking me to start in the centre and slide my finger around etc

    Please help

    • Michael @ 3qubits / Nov 6 2010 1:28 pm

      Hi Jason,
      It sounds like you haven’t actually activated it. You need to go to the keyboard settings and enable it, then long-press on a text input field to set it as your default input method.

  17. Ryan Silberman / Nov 11 2010 8:20 pm

    Congratulations for making it free. Now all countries can have access to it.

  18. Lestia / Jan 2 2011 10:29 pm

    I have always hated qwerty. I feel that it is an obsolete and non-intuitive layout for text-entry in the computer era so I high hopes for 8pen. Watching the 8pen video, I was delighted to see a character layout in the same order as the alphabet, and then immediately disappointed to see it get scrambled into a layout that is just as confusing and non-intuitive as qwerty. I’ve been practicing on the 8pen for several hours now and it is getting discouraging to have to constantly remove my finger to search for the letter I need. I believe the 8pen learning curve would be much less steep if the layout was as it appeared to be in the first picture on the video. Any chance of getting a version like that?

  19. Ady / Aug 25 2011 8:13 am

    Doesn’t work on the HTC Sensation unfortunately. Like Jason, mine just shows normal keyboard. I have activated and set as default, but no joy.

  20. reagkattStess / Jul 20 2013 5:17 am

    zmasowywac karty mifare morszczuku umilknieciom jardy cyjo chotczankami nitrozwiazku

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