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Since the unveiling of third-party keyboards for Android some years ago, iOS users have looked on with envy. That is, until today as Fleksy is using the simplification of iOS 7 code and adding their alternative keyboard to iOS apps. Things will kick off with four apps: Wordbox, GV Connect, Launch Center Pro and Blindsquare but where the company goes from here is still up for some debate. As an option inside each app, Fleksy still won’t work like an alternative Android keyboard which works across the board no matter which app is being run.

Fleksy actually started its iOS life as a standalone app over a year ago as an alternative keyboard for those with visual impairments. With the new iOS SDK, developers can incorporate Fleksy into any app, but this will only happen on an app-by-app basis. Therein lies perhaps the biggest problem wrapped up in all of this keyboard excitement: will users be forced to purchase the keyboard as a in-app purchase in numerous apps? That could cause a huge backlash against the process even as its news is a first in iOS history. Fleksy founder Ioannis Verdelis recognizes this is an issue as quoted to The Verge, but he’s leaving it up to developers to solve. Still, Verdelis believes this is the beginning of something great:

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“With every new version of iOS the work required on our part to build a keyboard SDK has reduced significantly,” he says. “We’re [now] doing stuff on iOS that integrates the keyboard deeper than it’s ever been integrated.”

The good news is that you can try Fleksy right now in any of those apps, and I expect many of you shall to discover if this is really the keyboard news we’ve been hoping, praying and wishing for for years now. With the iOS app selection as deep and wide-spread as it is, there’s a plethora of apps that would benefit from Fleksy integration, now just has to sell developers on how to utilize it.

See also: Launch Center Pro reinvented for iOS 7

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7 Responses to “A first for iOS as Fleksy adds alternative keyboard support to apps”

  1. This wouldn’t even be a necessity with the iOS6 keyboard which was nearly perfect (minus the somewhat out-dated design)… the iOS7 keyboard however, is a huge mess. Laggy, buggy when switching to numbers and just a huge step backwards in general. Look forward to trying this alternative out.

  2. Charles Qi says:

    Just to point out that since long ago some popular apps in china already implemented alternative keyboard (alternative IME to be specific). So it’s not a first IMO.

  3. That stupid dialog box that keeps popping up after every word I type is rendering this app unusable in my eyes. It is so annoying!!!

  4. smigit says:

    “The good news is that you can try Fleksy right now in any of those apps, and I expect many of you shall to discover if this is really the keyboard news we’ve been hoping, praying and wishing for for years now. ”

    I can’t imagine too many people at all have been waiting for application developers to implement keyboards on an app by app basis. Those that want a custom keyboard will likely want it across the board, those that don’t care won’t use it anyway. As a SDK, this *may* address some developer concerns for those that wanted to roll their own keyboard but didn’t have the resources to invest in it, but for end users that still effectively have no choice still I’m not sure this really solves any issues at all.

    To be honest I hope this doesn’t take off. I think the last things consumers need is for every app to use a different keyboard. If it was integrated at the OS level then that may be useful for consumers, but in its current state it’ll likely just cause a mess when people use different applications that have different keyboard layouts, functions and appearances.

  5. Tried it. I don’t see the benefit. I tested typing as fast as I could on both Fleksy and the standard iOS keyboard and iOS did better. Fleksy did OK for not looking, but it was far from something you’d email. Voice dictation is way better for hands-off “typing”.

    Swype looks cool. A more probable iOS addition, given how Carl Icahn is suggesting that Apple purchase Nuance (the makers of Swype and Dragon dictate).

    The only keyboard addition I crave is a better way to position the cursor. I find it hard to nail the exact position for a correction every time. It would be nice to swipe for cursor right/left/up/down.