There’s nothing like a strange idea to kick off a new week. The leaked photo above shows a curved, one-handed onscreen keyboard for Windows Phone. We have no idea how far the keyboard has gotten through testing at Microsoft, but it does look oddly legitimate. The rumor comes from WMPoweruser, which reported that a curved keyboard was in development about a year ago as well.
The new keyboard will probably only be a secondary option, but is designed so that a person can type using only one thumb without having to look at the keyboard. Since there are several letters grouped together, we imagine that the operating system would have to guess what letter you’re typing, much like some forms of T9 number pad typing that we used to do on flip phones like the Razr. Having to stare at what you type is one current weakness of onscreen keyboards. There is no word on if this enhancement will be packaged in Windows Phone 8, but judging from the HTC Trophy used in the photo, it might come to Windows Phone 7.8 users as well.
Would you try to use a curved keyboard? We’re curious and would give it a shot, but word recognition may be the biggest challenge. Even on full QWERTY keyboards, phones routinely give us the wrong word. Google’s Android 4.0 is especially bad at giving users the wrong words. Though Windows Phone hasn’t yet made a dent in the smartphone space, its keyboard is fantastic. If Microsoft believes it has cracked a new way to type, we wouldn’t mind checking it out.
To learn more about Microsoft’s plans, read the list of Windows Phone 8 features coming this fall. Also, if you want to see another strange keyboard idea, check out this Microsoft patent detailing a keyboard that can be swapped with a gamepad.