Windows 8: Microsoft’s new Windows Phone-like keyboard [video]

By Tom Warren, on 18th Jun 11 12:49 pm with 16 Comments

Microsoft is currently building a new touch friendly keyboard into Windows 8.

The latest leaked build, 7989, contains an improved version of the keyboard which Microsoft has demonstrated recently. The keyboard includes touch friendly buttons and a new split keyboard option. Microsoft has also built emoticon support directly into the keyboard user interface and feedback sounds similar to Windows Phone. For a full demo of the keyboard, check out the video below.

Thanks to WinRumors reader David for the video

  • Jacob Morgan Dunton

    this just LOOKS like a really outdated osk.  the current one in windows 7 looks much nicer to me — they should just pare it down and get rid of all the superfluous keys, add the split option and they’d be doing just fine.

    • Tom W

      I think I prefer it to be honest. The split option will be handy for tablets definitely.

    • jimm

      BLEH  w7 keyboard is bad on the eyes  way to much aero

    • Fur Dworetzky

      Looks good to me. Well designed and certainly looks very usable. What’s outdated about it?

  • Anonymous

    looks nice.

  • Anonymous

    Great stuff, my only worry is that they’re not as far with the UI in the pen keyboard (although there may not be much to change). Pen UI shouldn’t be an afterthought for Microsoft, yes by all means make the system finger-friendly that should be an obvious priority, however pen could be a real differentiator.

    Example: Photoshop- everybody is complaining that you can’t make touch input work for the desktop environment, tell that to my Toshiba tablet from 2006. Sure I don’t want to use a pen ALL of the time but in some instances it’s important to have a level of precision with my input without grabbing a mouse. There’s no compromise when you use pen and touch together in terms of precision!

    Look at the courier concept- sure that’s abandoned now but elements from that UI could be brought into Windows. Imagine if every Windows 8 tablet had a pen as well as the capacitive screen- a small change but a massive differentiator between Windows machines and iPads.

    It will probably never happen but I think it’s a shame that Microsoft isn’t willing to go that one extra step to make a tablet work with Windows!

  • Adam Haider

    Finally! The current on-screen keyboard was awful to use and not as pretty. My only hope is that you will be able to snap the keyboard in place (so content is pushed above or below), resize the keys and also hide the keyboard but display a slide-out tab like used for the pen. I personally think they should do away with the emoticons, leave that for the phone.

  • RWalrond

    I hope they also give you the choice of bringing back the current OSK. I find it works perfectly for me, I tend to use numbers quite a bit and because the current OSK has numbers it’s prefect. This keyboard will cause me to hit a symbol key to toggle numbers off and on.

    I’m all for progress, however not everyone hates the current OSK. I think if they just made the current keyboard appear and disappear like others do on their Media tablets then I would be fine with that.

  • McAkins Online

    MS does Split Keyboard and everyone goes gaga! Welcome to UMPC everybody! Why does everyone find this now hot and almost 10 years ago not? MS needs to do something about its mindshare. I actually like the UMPC split-keyboard than this.

  • doctorwhofan98

    I like it!!

  • Avatar X

    And that video does not actually shows all there is to it.

  • Avatar X

    And that video does not actually shows all there is to it.

  • Kanelp

    Looks good, only thing that I think could be better is that when you have the split keyboard on, all of the space between looks like dead space.  Do they use this space of anything?  Can you make it transparent so you can see what is behind it?  I guess to some degree maybe this is by design, when the keyboard is up it takes up the space it takes, but looking at it, I feed the space can be used for something.

  • Mikaeldjensen

    Looks as if they are keeping the old Ink input panel from the tablet days, I wonder if it could become popular if the form factor will be out with consumers and pens could be a cool way for some people to input

  • Thom McKiernan

    So where is the Windows Key? That does a lot more than just launch the start menu.

  • Anonymous

    Somebody needs to install this build on one of the current generation HP TouchSmarts (that pivot to lay the screen almost flat to make it like a giant tablet) to see how it really works in practice.