Dezeen Magazine

Typewise keyboard uses artificial intelligence to improve smartphone typing

The latest version of keyboard app Typewise combines autocorrection, language detection and a user-friendly "honeycomb" layout, to help you type faster with fewer errors.

Launching today, Typewise 3.0 is designed to significantly improve the user experience of typing on a smartphone.

Typewise keyboard dark mode
Typewise combines a hexagonal keyboard layout with AI technology

As with earlier versions, it features a hexagonal keyboard layout that is better suited to two-thumb typing than a traditional QWERTY layout.

It combines this with newly developed artificial intelligence (AI) technology so that the keyboard can accurately correct mistakes, switch between languages and predict what you're going to type next.

"Typewise began as a solution to make daily life easier, to put a stop to annoying typos and cumbersome typing," said digital strategist David Eberle, who co-founded Typewise alongside data scientist Janis Berneker.

"Our mission is to change the way we input information into our devices."

Typewise keyboard light mode
The company says its keyboard reduces the number of typos by 400 per cent

Eberle and Berneker collaborated with ETH Zurich to develop the latest version of Typewise. Together with the University of Cambridge, ETH Zurich had previously carried out a study which found that one in five words written on a smartphone contain typos.

The developers claim that Typewise can reduce the number of typos by 75 per cent and result in 33 per cent faster typing speeds.

"While everything about the smartphone is from the 21st century, the keyboard comes from the 19th century and hasn't really changed," Eberle told Dezeen.

"It wasn't made for fast typing; it was made to suit the mechanical limitations of the typewriter," he continued. "And while it works reasonably well for laptops, it doesn't work for smartphones."

Typewise keyboard features
Swipe and hold functions can be used for capital letters or special characters

The first version of Typewise, released in December 2019, saw the arrival of the patented honeycomb keyboard. By eliminating unused space, this layout offers larger keys without taking up any additional screen space.

It also makes use of the swipe and hold functions on a touchscreen to allow users to easily insert capital letters or special characters.

"The surface becomes 70 per cent larger per key, and that drastically reduces your typos," Eberle explained. "But we soon realised that, while it's great to have a better interface, we can still make it better."

Typewise keys
The hexagonal layout creates 70 per cent larger keys

Their next step was to integrate this keyboard with "text prediction technology". So the app now contains AI algorithms, which helps it to identify and correct mistakes, and also suggest what words you want to type next.

"It's phenomenally good at correcting typos," said Eberle.

What's more, the app learns from your habits so that it can make better suggestions.

Typewise language detection
The app includes automatic language detection

There are two particular features that set Typewise's functionality apart from its competitors.

The first is the language detection, which allows bilingual users to more easily switch between languages, even in a single message.

"The keyboard recognises automatically which language you're currently typing in, with a little flag that indicates, so you don't have to manually switch like you do on the iPhone, for example," said Eberle.

Typewise features
Unlike other keyboards, Typewise doesn't share your data

The second is the promise of privacy. While many keyboards process everything you type into them, Typewise does not share any data back to the developers.

"Most keyboards have network access, which means they can capture everything you type and send it across the internet: GPS location, calendar, and some even look at your bookmarks and browser history," Eberle stated.

"With Typewise, the keyboard is sandboxed," he added. "All the user personalisation happens on the device itself, no user typing data is sent across the internet."

Typewise modes
Users can choose a QWERTY keyboard and still benefit from the AI technology

Typewise is available from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and earned acclaim at the CES 2021 Innovation Awards and the Best of Swiss App Awards 2020.

According to Eberle, a new version will be launched in the next 12 months that pushes the technology even further.

"The next iteration will be phenomenally good at predicting what are you going to say next," he said. "It won't just be about single words, it will be able to complete entire sentences."

"We believe that in the future we're not going to be typing letter by letter on keyboards any more; that will change, and that's what we're working on."