A lot of people love Swype. And then there’s this alternative keyboard thing that is a major rub across iOS devices (which Android users often make fun of). But here’s Fleksy trying to break that unpopular streak in iOS 7.
Fleksy launched alternative keyboard support for four of its apps: Launch Center Pro, Wordbox, GV Connect and Blindsquare. In these apps, you will have the option of choosing between the standard keyboard layout, a Fleksy keyboard or the Number pad whenever there’s a text-field where you can type.
Although the implementation is not completely streamlined (switching to the number pad for instance) and it’s not clear how the SDK that Fleksy provides would be implemented by other app developers, it sure sounds interesting and is a definitely step forward in introducing alternative keyboards for the iOS ecosystem.
Unlike on Android – where you can change the keyboard layout/style and it gets applied universally across all apps – iOS does not provide this “universal” functionality. Fleksy’s approach is, therefore, totally dependent on adoption: if a developer opts to include the alternative keyboard SDK, end-users get to see and use the alternative keyboard.
Essentially, between Fleksy’s alternative keyboard and end-users seeing and using that keyboard, developers’ willingness and effort is involved.
Some of the reactions to Fleksy’s approach haven’t exactly been positive but that’s expected: first off, Apple’s iOS is still not open enough to allow for a seamless alternative keyboard integration.
Secondly, this is perhaps the only existing approach that can pave the way for further dialog, interaction and possible changes to the way iOS works.
The problem, however, is that this initial implementation is not seamless enough to appeal or present the right experience which is available on the Android platform. If only iOS had been more “open”, the approach would have attracted far lesser negative criticism.
Nevertheless, Fleksy’s implementation of an alternative Keyboard for iOS is a great start.