The last time I wrote about Fleksy, it was testing an end-run around Apple’s unwillingness to let you choose an alternative software keyboard for the iPhone.
Now, Fleksy is going all-out, allowing any app developer to include the company’s predictive text keyboard instead of the iPhone’s default keyboard. Another 11 apps have added Fleksy as an option, in addition to the four that offer the keyboard already, and the company says it has received inquiries from hundreds more developers.
Fleksy has also used the last couple of months to finesse its approach. Instead of selecting Fleksy through the settings menu of whatever app you’re using, you simply press and hold on the text field, and a Fleksy button appears right next to the usual Select/Select All options. The keyboard is also getting color themes.
Fleksy isn’t the only keyboard maker dabbling in this approach. SwiftKey, the maker of a popular keyboard for Android, released its own note taking app in January, and told my colleague Harry McCracken that it’s considering opening it up to more developers. But even if SwiftKey goes that route, Fleksy is leading the way.
Ideally, these efforts would prove to Apple that there’s a demand for more software keyboards than the one iOS provides. There are a lot of ways to approach touch screen typing, and different users may have different preferences, so Apple’s one-size-fits-all approach is looking rusty. From what I’ve seen of Fleksy’s implementation, letting users switch keyboards can be done in a way that isn’t confusing.
As for Fleksy itself, I still haven’t used it enough to know whether it’s the keyboard for me, but that’s exactly why it should be available in more apps. Its main hook is supposedly killer text prediction that works with even the sloppiest of writing, so you can type without looking down at the keys. If you want to try it out, here’s the list of apps that support Fleksy now, or will soon:
- Wordbox (Note taking)
- GV Connect (Google Voice client)
- Blindsquare (GPS app for vision impaired users)
- Launch Center (Shortcuts for apps, contacts and tasks)
- You Doodle (Drawing/image editor)
- Cotton Notes (Note taking/organization)
- Write for iOS (Text editor)
- Tap Forms Organizer (Organization tool)
- SnapStatus (Simultaneous Facebook/Twitter posting)
- Remoter VNC (Remote desktop)
- Evomail (Alternative email app)
- hAppy for ADN (App.net client)
- Matcha (Text editor)
- Vert 2 (Currency converter)
- MUDRammer (MUD client)