News, Windows Phone

Microsoft talks about the wonderous Windows Phone Keyboard

Microsoft revealed a couple secrets behind the keyboard in Windows Phone 8 this week, in a blog post and video. The WP8 keyboard is admittedly, pretty great, and close to if not better than the one on rival platforms, and apparently there’s been a lot of development time and work gone into it.

Microsoft worked hard to refining the keyboard on Windows Phone 8, even focusing on the text-prediction, to create a keyboard that they call “Word Flow.” It includes over 600,000 of the most common words and phrases that most people use when typing on their mobile phone, all the way from pop culture, to popular slang, and there’s even auto-correction for misspellings:

“On average people type 20 to 30 messages a day on their phones; that’s over 10,000 a year. They also make a lot of mistakes: about one in every three words, we’ve found. Windows Phone 8 introduces Word Flow—an improved and renamed version of the Quick Correct feature from Windows Phone 7.5—to help prevent time-wasting typos and focus on what matters: communicating with the people you care about.”

Apparently the word suggestions are supplied to users by dictionaries maintained by the team behind Office, who have been working on dictionary prediction for over 20 years. And as such auto-correction is 94 percent accurate on average, and adapts to each user’s style.

“Office uses a variety of sources—from linguistic research to frequency analysis of documents, books, and web pages—to build their dictionaries. Since “happy” is used more often by people than the word “happen,” we offer “happy” as the first suggestion.

Remember the little checkbox during phone set up (and in Settings) that talks about helping us improve text suggestions and build a better product? When someone gives us permission, we collect anonymous typing data—free of passwords, names, numbers, and other personal info—to help create and test Word Flow.”

The WP team also worked towards solving the “fat finger” issue where folks with large fingers ended up pressing the wrong keys frequently, which is solved in Windows Phone by automatically altering the ‘hit’ area of each key, which all continuously change size, as you can see in the video below:

That’s a lotta for for a keyboard, eh? No wonder it’s one of the best out there. More info about the keyboard in Windows Phone 8 over on the Windows Phone Blog, right over at the link below.

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