GKOS Keyboard Adventures

Recently I have become interested in chorded keyboards.  I see them as an incredibly under explored option in computer interfacing, particularly for engineers or people who are bringing a computer into a workshop/bench workflow.  To attempt to get used to chording, I installed a chorded keyboard on my android phone.  It is called the GKOS keyboard.

The first thing I noticed was how huge the keyboard was.  It took up roughly 70% of my screen, which is saying something, since I have a galaxy note ii.  This means that when typing, I can really only see a few lines of text, which can be annoying.  On the other hand, the keys are enormous! Instead of the tiny fingertip sized keys that normally adorn such keyboards, the large keys are roughly .5″ wide by .75″ tall!

Huuuuuggeee keys.

There is the keyboard.  As you can see, the “home” keys are very non-standard.  However, they are certainly the most used keys.  This makes it convenient and easy to type.  After a few days, I found that I was speeding up, although I was still lagging behind my querty-thumb-pecking speed.

The major downfall of this keyboard is actually the form factor of the modern phone.  While it is kind of fun to use, it is extremely uncomfortable on phones without a large bezel.  This is because the natural position of the thumb is somewhat relaxed, and the comfortable way to type would be to pivot your thumb around the base joint.

In portrait mode, the problem comes in that my thumb is a little longer than half the screen, and to hold the phone securely I have to have by hand across the back of it.  This means that in order to get my thumb on the keys, I have to curl my thumb up for the entire time.  This makes it very uncomfortable.  In landscape mode, it is slightly more comfortable, because it is easier to hold the phone, but still, the keys are right at the edge of the screen.

The other issue I had is that the keyboard is not one-handed, especially on my huge phone.  I want a one handed chording keyboard!

I enjoyed using it, but I have switched back to my querty.  The keys are now painfully small, and my pecking seems weird compared to the elegant chording on the GKOS, but I am faster and more comfortable while using it.

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