A company called Snapkeys has come up with a very innovative idea for replacing the tiny keyboards on smartphones and other handheld devices.

They have designed a keyboard that represents all 26 letters of the alphabet with only four keys. The letters are grouped by shape:  Letters that stand on one leg, like “I,” “F”  and “T,” are grouped on one key. Two-leg letters would include “A,” “H,” “W” and “M.” Those with a wide base, like “U,” “C” and “Z” on another key, and letters that are sort of circular, like “O,” “Q” and “R” on another.

Interestingly, this fits with past research on reading that found readers typically identify a word by its shape rather than mentally spelling it out. This approach is commonly used in speed-reading exercises. You will be able to download the app for this kind of four-button keyboard from the Android Market Placeor Apple App Store in coming weeks. More info at

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