When Google announced that Android Wear 2.0 would come with support for third-party keyboards, everybody knew it was only a matter of time before keyboards flooded the market and typing on your wrist went mainstream. It looks as though the kickstarter for the revolution is Snapkeys; quite literally in fact, since they at one point turned to crowdfunding to try and get their own smartwatch, centered around a fast keyboard, off the ground. Their keyboard is both similar and different in many ways compared to traditional smartphone keyboards, and is available for any and all Android Wear watches sporting version 2.0 and up of the software, including devices with a round face.
Using a clever mix of a letter-keys-forward approach with punctuation and options on wheels, and a decent dose of autocorrect and predictive technology, the keyboard manages to make typing on a smartwatch's tiny screen about as natural as it can be without venturing drastically from the way typing is done on a smartphone. The keyboard also features different skins and layouts, as well as swiping capabilities, like most modern keyboards. The overall typing experience is not unlike using a small smartphone, aping some features from the likes of the Xperia X10 Mini's default keyboard. The team behind Snapkeys says that users can not only type just as fast on Snapkeys as they can on their phones, they say that users can realistically reach speeds as high as 80 words per minute, which is faster than the average typist on a computer keyboard.
Snapkeys is shown as fully functional on a smartwatch in the demo video, but is still unavailable. The video says that Snapkeys will come to a smartwatch near you soon, but no exact timeline is specified. While other text input options like handwriting, gestures, voice input and external keyboards may dominate the smartwatch landscape for the moment and possibly the near future, a keyboard like Snapkeys will be a very welcome addition to some users' lists of smartwatch apps, and could even bring manual, key-by-key typing on a smartwatch into the mainstream, if the app takes off upon release.