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Nuance’s Keyboard May or May Not Be Sweet!

Woke up and flipped on the RSS just now to find what looked like a promising new soft keyboard for Android by one of my favorite companies, Nuance, the king of voice recognition. They cooked something up called FlexT9 which judging from a couple other write-ups and their Youtube promo is a mixture of existing software: Swype, Google Gestures, Google Voice Search and the Android Keyboard with a darker SwiftKey Skin (minus the SwiftKey prediction engine) with a mechanism to flip from one mode to another as fast as you’d otherwise switch from letters to symbols rather than changing input methods which is normally an interminable six second process..

Okay, not bad sounding (not mind blowing either), but worth downloading and reviewing. But wait a second – five bucks, Nuance?! I mean hey, it sounds like it would be good for some people I suppose, but you didn’t reinvent the wheel here, you just managed to stuff a triangle, a trapezoid and a semicircle into the same wheel. Moreover, those shapes are otherwise free. Unless this is magically awesome voice recognition using your own stuff and not Google’s (and it is better than Google’s), … Look I am not even going to ask you guys to slide me a free copy to review because five bucks is too much for me to encourage our readers to buy (versus, say, SwiftKey, the Cadillac of Android soft keyboards) and I don’t need to try it just to say that five bucks is too much: this is not worth five bucks – you see? What is this, the Xoom of keyboards?

Lower the damn price to $3 (sorry, $2.99, keep forgetting to subtract a penny…) and then we’ll talk. In the meantime, in good faith, I’ll embed your youtube thing for those of our visitors who have infinite money. Not too bad, by the way, for a Youtube promo for some random Android software. But next time 720p please, maybe a nice nubile female supporting actress too, I imagine by now you’ve got yourselves a receptionist….

By the way Nuance, you’re not finished with Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Nothing matches it but I’ve got a quadriplegic who, though he’s been using it happily for several years, still gets exhausted by some shortcomings and I’ve got another old lady with MS (not Microsoft but the even worse thing one could have) and an iPad who has no chance of copying and pasting from some notepad thing into an email, let alone understanding the concept of any of those things let alone mastering the “scratch that” command. Keep your eye on the ball here.

While you’re screwing around with a youtube account, how about a couple fifteen minute dictation did-you-know tips/tutorials for someone who’s been using your software for several years and would be much happier if he knew he can do this or that or the other thing to make symbols or whatever. Maybe you’ve already got that and I’d find out if I checked your Youtube channel, but I’d prefer that you’d call my attention to it with a link in the comment thread of this article.

But five bucks for a phone virtual keyboard thing, who do you think you is? You’re not Blindtype. For that I’d pay $6 (well, $5.99 I should say; $6 is kind of steep).

Doug Simmons