Crocodile Keyboard Coming December 7th


One pivotal point of any smartphone’s success or failure is in the keyboard. How does it feel? How accurate is your typing? How quickly can you type? How good is the layout of the keys? How many rows does it have? And the questions go on and on. Since the purpose of a smartphone is to elevate a traditional phone to more “computing” power, the ability to provide quick and reliable input is central to a phone’s needs.

A company called Crocodile Keyboards has invented a patent pending keyboard layout that they think will drastically improve typing on both software and hardware keyboards for smartphones. The layout utilizes triangles that not only puts “dead” space between buttons, causing less mis-presses, it is also more compact which allows it to be implemented in a variety of ways/form factors:


The company has a homepage that is sparsely populated but they mention it is designed for touchscreens but can also be used on hardware. Obviously it is MUCH easier for them to start on the software things since all it would take is popping an APK into Android Market and hoping for the best. Success in the market could help manufacturers like HTC, Samsung, Motorola and others to adopt the layout. For a price of course.


The folks at MobileCrunch have gotten word that the Crocodile Keyboard Android Application will launch on Android Market December 7th. I can promise you I am eager to try it out and I suggest you do too. I’m not sure how much it will help but by the looks of it… it can’t hurt.

It does make me a tad dizzy when i stare at it though…

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Interesting…

  2. Why isn’t there a software keyboard where you can customize the layout yet? That seems like it would be killer.

  3. Was the iPhone the first device with the .com key?

    I like that key. Any ideas?

  4. i was just thinkin the other day that they could improve software keyboards greatly by doing a different shape instead of a square. i was thinkin more of a circle, but triangles work too….

  5. Err… its a great idea, but does it really deserve a patent? I mean… all they did was change the shape lol

  6. Yeah but nobody thought of it before them so why not?

  7. I really like this idea and will deffinately be downloading it as soon as it hits the market!

  8. why cant we have a external keyboard????

  9. this is really neat. i will definitely check it out and hopefully it’s free (at least at first anyway) and hopefully it doesn’t cause my phone to cyclically crash like better keyboard did/does.

  10. @bill
    no one holds an external keyboard and move around with it.
    Anyway, next keyboard for me should be able to read my mind and type it down for me

  11. nice, I still hit the button above what im typing alot, and end up with the wrong letter, but now I will be typing nothing. I think they should make the tops of the keys SLIGHTLY raised to make them sort of diamond shaped. obviously not full diamonds because then I will be typing the letter below what I want to type on accident, but raised a bit would help.

    man, I better go patent that idea real quick.

  12. I’m not sure if it deserves a patent either but I think it is brilliant and I cant wait to try it for myself.

  13. I was thinking that flipping the triangles 180 would be better but then you wouldn’t miss the key above like maddmatt02 talks about so the triangles as show work best. But maybe putting a curve on them would be better, kinda like an ice cream cone shape. That would give even more space between keys from the sides and top.

  14. Very interesting. I’m definitely looking forward to trying this out. The clincher for me would be if this is a multi-touch keyboard. Oh please, oh please, oh please…

  15. Pressing multiple keys at the same time is not a good way to type.

  16. Good idea ! but the colors (grey & black) have too much contrast (feel dizzy when look at too long).
    Should change the colors !
    and also the form like said above (more curves)

  17. I’m not so sure, that the area shown graphically on existing touchscreen keyboards, necessarily represent the area sensitive to touch.. You could just as easily have similar triangular areas sensing for touch and still have square keys.

  18. If it has a Hero skin I will get it, most definitely

  19. I prefer form over function any day of the week,but it would be nice to have some color choices available.Definitely will be trying this out,because I still have the og1 kenobi,and only use the virtual keyboard in the subject,kinda let down by reviews of the x10 I was waiting on….come onnnnn dragon.

  20. Interesting idea but I don’t like the aesthetics. I can’t imagine staring at that for any period of time (seems to play tricks with the mind). What they should do is shape the keys the same as a normal keyboard visually but have it work as if the whitespace exists between the keys thereby still helping the user hit the correct keys.

  21. IT would be a good idea for a physical keyboard, but I join the ranks here…it makes me dizzy. I would not want to look at this keyboard. Your eyes get lost in the rivers of white space and it’s hard to concentrate on the keys when the black triangles stick out so much.

  22. i would be happy as a pig in poop if there was a driver for my bluetooth stowaway keyboard.

    i will try the app, though.

  23. maybe the optical illusion problem that you guys are talkin about could be fixed with a simple color change. maybe instead of using the contrasting black and light gray, they could do a gray background with white keys or somethin along those lines. or maybe if they did squares that are rotated 45 degrees so they look like this , but that would throw away their whole crocodile selling point.

  24. didnt post my example…. o well

  25. @Aerimus, the closest you get for now is AnySoftKeyboard ( It’s open source and I have contributed some stuff myself. If you can build software for android yourself you can just get the sources, change the XML layout files and deploy it on your device.

    Layout packs and themes are planed for a future version.

    Suggestions are always welcome; just opens a new issue or comment on an existing one.

  26. I like this idea… but on the color tip, yikes! maybe they need an alternating gradient background behind the keys? so it’s one color but the saturation of that color is different underneath the keyboard when you move left to right or left to center or right to center. I think they could hit it out of the park just be experimenting with different colors and color gradient.

  27. I agree that the black & grey is a bad color scheme, as the contrast is hard on the eyes. Thats an easy fix though.

    Having custom keys somewhere would be awesome. (the mention .com key, and maybe a key or two for commonly used names, such as the city you’re in etc)

  28. I have a vague memory of some “electronic toy” in the 80’s having a triangle-based keyboard layout. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great idea and I wish them the best of luck, but I doubt they’ll be able to survive a patent challenge if it ever comes to that. Some long-memoried manufacturer will pull out a diagram of any number of products that came and went in the 70’s and 80’s and that will be that.

    I’ll be trying it out if it does hit on the 7th, though.

  29. #2 “Why isn’t there a software keyboard where you can customize the layout yet? That seems like it would be killer.”

    huh? for what reason? but you’re probably someone who’s into dvorak as well..

  30. Swyping will make this obsolete:

  31. @Buckwad, You might enjoy trying out the ShapeWriter keyboard. There is a 30 day trial for it on the app market. I’ve been trying it out on my Sprint Hero… pretty neat to use. I had to do some research to learn that after you enable it in Locale & text, that you have to long press on a text box to actually select it for use.

  32. Might be kinda cool, but the spelling correction that’s (I assume) part of Sense is already good enough for me. I can hit half of the wrong letters and it’ll still know what I meant. I don’t even bother taking the time to hit the correct keys anymore.

  33. It’s available now on the Android Market for UK £2.00

  34. Looks like it’s not that great according to the reviews in the Marketplace. :(

  35. @Chad I totally agree, I had previously bought the crocodile keyboard, but I was never able to install it because I was getting the “Download Unsuccessful” error :-( , however, I read your post about the ShapeWriter and I gladly paid the $9.99 for it after trying out the trial for just a few minutes. I really wanted the Swype keyboard but it appears that Shapewriter is the same thing and it’s available now :-D

    Thanks again for the post Chad :-)

  36. @Jared, No prob! I hadn’t heard of any of the swype-type keyboards until I read Buckwad’s comment. I’m glad you like ShapeWriter so much. Personally, I’m not sure I’m ready to pay $10 for it just yet… as I still favor the Hero’s stock keyboard with its predictive text. I’ve really enjoyed using ShapeWriter though and will undoubtedly miss playing with it when my trial runs out. Also, while Swype and ShapeWriter are VERY much alike, I think Swype may be a bit more powerful in how it handles special characters, capitalization, and double letters. If ShapeWriter dropped it’s price to $5, I’d jump on it in a heartbeat. You gotta give them some props for already having it in the market, too.

  37. A while ago I started developing a transparent fullscreen keyboard with a hexagonal layout (cough, prior art…) Problem was WinCE IME SDK was ghastly, hit too many brick walls and gave up.

    Might have to have a play on android as people still seem enthusiastic about experimental input methods.

  38. Look at the subsequent reviews of the keyboard now that it is in the Android Market. They are not good.

  39. I actually had the Shapewriter Keyboard and fell in love with it, then they took it away from me after 30 days trial :( I’m tempted to buy it, but Swype beta is available for download (via webpage) although it’s not guaranteed to be stable. I’m kinda toying with just doing that or waiting for SlideIt Keyboard to come out with a version for android. I hear SlideIt will destroy Shapewriter and Swype, or any other keyboard for that matter. It looks really good on their website.

  40. Has anyone found a way of putting a Dvorak layout on a phone keyboard? Preferably without having to do my own code-writing!

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