8pen is a funky text input system for mobile devices that replaces a traditional QWERTY keyboard with a series of letters stacked into quadrants. You can choose the letter you want to enter by drawing figures on the text area, which requires memorizing a series of gestures. Theoretically once you get up and running, it could be faster than a keyboard, because your finger never has to leave the screen. I’m personally a bit skeptical, but some folks who have tried the Android version of 8pen say it’s actually pretty good once you get the hang of it.

Now it looks like the company behind 8pen is also working on a version for iOS, which means you may be able to use 8pen on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

I have a hard time imagining Apple approving a replacement for the default on-screen keyboard, even though the company has relaxed its restrictions on third party apps in the App Store recently. While Windows Mobile, Android, and some other mobile operating systems have long embraced full-fledged replacements for the default text input methods, Apple typically doesn’t approve apps designed to replace core functions of the operating system such as the keyboard or web browser.

Still, I suppose we could eventually see a version of 8pen show up in the Cydia store for jailbroken iPhone apps.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...

One reply on “8pen alternate keyboard coming to iOS?”

  1. ive used this keyboard for 2 days now, and if you memorize how to do enter any word and perfect the art of entering that word in the 8pen (no matter how easy the word) you realize the limits of how fast you can enter it, which falls short of any qwerty (and possibly some keypads).

    i hate you apple people, but i figured i would let you know.

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