The Keybee project is slowing down because we did not recieved any investment. The development of a full working mobile app is hard and without funds is extremly hard. Currently we are trying to improve the app and make it better in the limit of our time and financial availability, always looking for people who want to join this project.
Keybee is the new keyboard layout designed specifically for touchscreen devices (smartphones, tablets, tablet phones, pda, smartwatches, car navigators, cash machines, etc). The name Keybee comes from the composition of the words Keyboard and Bee that together symbolize the essence of the project. Keybee wants to fill a gap that has lasted for 150 years and give to the touchscreens a layout designed only for them. Innovate means to improve the needs of the community and Keybee, solving a basic problem of the interaction between man and machine and reaching billion of users in every place, of every ages and languages, represents a real innovation.
2. When and where the Keybee project was launched?
The project was born in Italy at the end of 2012 while the Keybee beta app has been launched in January 2014.
Keybee was created and patented by Marco Papalia, a front-end developer with a great passion on usability and computer science. His main goal was improve the typing experience in a smartphone without commit frustrating errors during the text entry as it happenson the standard QWERTY layout.
4. What are the main features of Keybee?
The main features of Keybee are:
Hexagonal honeycomb structure which optimizes the touchscreen display area and uses in the best way its proportions
Spacebar key moved to the centre of this structure
New arrangement based to the analysis of letter frequencies
Linking of the most common word groups according to their frequency to optimize the use of the swipe function
The QWERTY layout was invented in 1863 for a two hands typing mainly to solve the jam problems in the typewriters. For this reason the most common letters and groups in the QWERTY were move to the opposite edge so a two hands typing resulted faster and witohut jams. This separation is the main reason of the slowness typing on touchscreen QWERTY devices used with one finger. Smartphones and tablets (launched in 2007) uses the same QWERTY layout even if they are used with one hand/finger. So a new device was adapted to an old keyboard layout. Of course this has no sense because it should be the opposite: the keyboard layout adapted to the new device. Another problem of this QWERTY adaptation is that its horizontal predisposizion limts the scaling of the letters so the keys could not be adapted well on vertical displays.
6. Why did you choose a honeycomb structure?
To save space on touchscreen devices. First of all an honecomb structure can remove the useless space between letters so there is more useful space to show them bigger. Second this structure and its proportionality allows to use the device on portrait view. Third for each cell it increases the number of connections with the other cells and it decreases the distance between them.
The space key is the most important key on a keyboards. The QWERTY layout has the spacebar on the bottom because is the most confortable position for the two thumbs. On touchscreen devices the most comfortable position for the finger is not the bottom but the center of the keyboard, so the most important key deserves the most important, used and confortable position: the centre. From the centre it will start the new arrangement of letters and word groups.
8. What about the new letters arrangement?
Each letter in each Keybee keyboard has been placed following a precise algorithm. Starting from the centre there are the letters with the higher frequency (in relation to the language studied) and the letters that are most frequently at the beginning or at the end of a word. After these there are the letter with a low frquency while at higher distance, close to the borders, there are the less used letters. This new arrangement and this structure are designed also for the linking of the most common word groups according to their frequency of use. Word groups like with, ck, for, st, th, ing etc. are printable with one touch instead of with multiple touches. Also other symbols like apostrophe, question and exclamation mark, comma, dot, return, etc. are arranged to reduce the number of touches and the number of keyboard's change.
Yes, of course. Each language has his own structure so it is necessary that the arrangement follows every single language's rule. For now the available languages in Keybee are English, Spanish, Italian and German but we will introduce all the main languages according to their frequency (French, Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, Slavic and Balkan languages, Russian, Arabic)
10. How did you integrated the Swipe function?
The swipe is the primary function in the touchscreen devices, for this reason in Keybee the structure, the arrangement and the linking of common word groups are designed to make easy and fast the swipe function. Some syllables and some entire words can be inserted through a simple combination of click & swipe greatly reducing the number of touches for typing a text (50% less). All this thanks to the intelligent arrangement and not with the using of prediction algorothms. For now the swipe is limited to the adjacent cells because we did not introduce predictive algorithms.
Not yet. Being the project at the beginning we are still testing. Certainly the prediction algorithms increase the speed text entry but at the same time they introduce disadvantages such as unintended words and a huge use of RAM memory and battery on the device. In the future the user will choose to use Keybee with the prediction algorithms or just the standard Keybee with his great advantages.
12. Which are the advantages compared to the QWERTY?
Before showing all the advantages of Keybee I wish to focus on the concepts of simplicity and instantaneousness. First of all a successful keyboard must be simple and clear which means that all the letters must be at the same size. Secondly the keyboard must be istantaneous and easy, meaning that when I click I should not think but instantly it must show what I've pressed. The QWERTY has both of these characteristics but has the big fault of not being designed for touchscreen devices. Keybee takes the semplicity and the instantaneousness from the QWERTY and make them better. In fact Keybee is a lot simpler and clearer than QWERTY and especially Keybee is more instantaneous because with less touches I can print more letters.
Hence a series of Keybee advantages compared to QWERTY:
Less distance between all the letters (40% less)
Fewer touches to write a text (on average more than 50% less)
Faster writing and typing using one finger (small screen)
Faster writing and typing using one hand (big screen)
Increased speed to change keyboard
Fewer number of touches from letter to letter starting from every keyboard (2 touches)
Increased size of the keys and letters: 30% bigger size in the same area occupied by the QWERTY layout and 50% bigger in a full screen view
Less chance to make grammar mistakes
More characters and symbols can be used/viewed in the three different keyboards (17% more than the current standard)
More connections to other letters thanks to the honeycomb structure (6 connections)
Better arrangement of letters, syllables, word composition and word groups which have letters in common in relation to their frequency
Improved ergonomics and comfort in the use of the touchscreen devices
Better adaptability of the Keybee on large and small screens thanks ita proportionality ratio
More usable space in the vertical or horizontal view on touchscreen devices
The faster typing speed is gained without using any predictive algorithm of words
Sure. Keybee is designed to improve and speed up the text input with one hand and with a single finger so is perfect also for tablets. People hold with one hand these devices and press the display with one finger of the other hand (usually the index finger). The bigger size of the Keybee cells in a tablet turns out to be more efficient while the proportionality of the structure gives more space in background.
14. How is the Keybee project proceeding?
During the 2013 we focused on how to present our idea in front of investors. For this reason in we prepared some elevator pitches and applied for some national and international start-up competitions. Thanks to this work we have quickly reached the final of these national competitions (IT Cup Registro.it - Start Cup Milano Lombardia) and international (Italian Venture Forum) that gave to us the chance to speak directly with national and international investors. On January 2014 we have launched the Keybee beta for Android touchscreen devices. On June 2014 Keybee won one of the most important award in Italy for digital Innovation. The name of this prize is Premio Perotto Zucca 2013, the project was selected between 120 ideas and judged by more than 30 experts on IT technologies. On May 2015 Keybee was selected between 1000 projects for the first edition of Shark Tank in Italy. Meanwhile we are preparing to the Apple market developing the Keybee for iOS (iPhone and iPad). We would like to launch it on Apple Store in 2016.
After two years of working and looking for funds around Italy, Keybee has been selected between the final projects on Shark Tank. This format belongs to the Japanese format Dragon's Den which is achieving resounding success in United States and UK. The first selections were very striched, only the most reliable ideas can face up the five Sharks and only the best ideas can make a deal. During the episode the Keybee founder Marco Papalia exposes the idea with a short pitch. After some doubts and questions from the Sharks, three of them were very interested and they make three different counter offers. Marco choose the offer from Mariarita Costanza mainly for her determination and for her digital background. Unfortunately, after six month of Due Diligence, Mariarita Costanza changed her mind and decided not to invest in Keybee because the risk was too high for her.
Here the video from the episode (English subs):
We have a lot of ideas. It would be great to give the chance at the user to customize the Keybee arrangement according to its own most used letters. Make a lot of themes colors for the keyboard, add emoticons, prediction and autocorrection algorithms, instant translation function, complete swipe gestures, edit mode and more. We also want to Break the Guinnes World Record for text entry speed to prove the quality of this keyboard.
17. How did you find the idea for the Keybee logo?
The Keybee logo was designed by Jelena Čop (architect and wife of the inventor) and Tvrtko Buric (visual artist and designer). They wanted to create a logo which include the concepts of speed and centrality through an hexagonal structure, recognizable in a fast and immediate way. The name Keybee, simple and international, was given by Jelena.
Find an investment (or a co-founder) to improve the project is the priority because we want to develop the official Keybee beta app on Android and iOS. In the meantime make test it to many people as possible, start to develop it for other platforms and other devices, invest in targeted marketing, promote the project through start-up competitions. The market is huge and . Our goal is to reach millions of users around the World with the official Keybee versions (iOS and Android).
21. How can I contribute to make the project bigger?
Currently the project hasn't recieved any funds so it continues only thanks to personal investments from the founder. You can improve the Keybee project with a donation (free amount) or write a review on Google Play. Thank you.
Keybee® Project - Keybee is a registered trademark - contact: firstname.lastname@example.org - Update: November 2015