Microsoft has unveiled a new Analog Keyboard app for Google’s Android Wear-powered smart-watches, currently available as a prototype that lets users to enter text by drawing handwritten letters on the watch face. The app can be downloaded form the Microsoft’s Research page.
The company noted that the current version (0.1) only supports square screens with 320×320 screen resolution and the Motorola Moto 360. “With the Analog Keyboard Project we are exploring handwriting recognition for text input on small touch screens. Handwriting, unlike speech, is discreet and not prone to background noise. And unlike soft keyboards, where many keys have to share the small touch surface, handwriting methods can offer the entire screen (or most of it) for each symbol. This allows each letter to be entered rather comfortably, even on small devices.”
Here is a video which shows prototype running on both round and square Android Wear devices.
Microsoft has also given some usage tips below:
Write Lowercase. You can enter lowercase English letters (print), numbers, and basic punctuation symbols. Uppercase letters are not supported.
Start slowly and neatly. When using the prototype for the first time, watch the fading strokes on the writing panel and make sure they are legible and properly separated from one another. The recognition accuracy should be fairly high that way. Then try to develop a sense for how sloppy you can write while still getting good accuracy.
Frequent words like “this”, “and”, etc. will often be auto-corrected by the system once all characters have been entered, so it’s generally faster to finish writing these words even if there are wrong letters along the way.
Rare words on the other hand, like names or hashtags, should be written slowly and verified character by character (auto-correct is suppressed if you pause a little after each character).
Eyes-free. This is fun to try: how long a word can you write without looking at the watch?
Backspace key has a repeat function (long-press)
As per NDTV Gadgets report, last month, the company also introduced Universal Mobile Keyboard, an accessory compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows devices.