Technology seems to change nearly function of human life to make activities more efficient. Despite this evolution towards efficiency, one piece of technology remains static despite evidence that it is anything but.
The keyboard remains the same as the QWERTY design created by Christopher Sholes. Sholes laid out the keys so that common two-letter combinations appeared at opposite sides of the key board to prevent the mechanical keyboard from jamming. While it seems odd that technology has not been able to improve upon the design of an inventor who died in 1890, it might be because people are resistant to change from an established standard.
While the physical keyboard might not change, the departure from the physical keyboard might render the QWERTY design obsolete. Typing on smartphone screens is often difficult and produces error-laden messages. The 8Pen is an Android application that provides smartphone users with a way to type that offers the reliability of the QWERTY keyboard.
8Pen management suggests that it is time to replace the traditional keyboard because people do not type using two hands anymore. The tiny smartphone screen requires one-finger typing, which can still be difficult. The app attempts to solve this problem and offers a way to type messages in less time than on the traditional smartphone screen. The 8pen layout separates letters into quadrants that float around a center piece spacebar button. Typists move around the four sections by gesturing around the keys rather than by striking out at individual letters. 8Pen inventors suggest that the app feels more like handwriting and that the program even recognizes gestures to make typing easier.
While the app might improve typing performance it seems difficult to imagine the elimination of the traditional keyboard anytime soon. Traditions, even those that seemingly make little sense sustain because people feel comforted by the repetition of a familiar activity.
While 8Pen might not eliminate the QWERTY keyboard, other apps will try if it fails.