Anyone who has used a Windows Mobile phone for
any reasonable period of time has quickly learned the soft keyboard
was never designed to be finger-friendly. For users who would
like an alternative, Spb Software House provides a full screen
keyboard replacement. How does it perform? Let’s find out!
Here are the key features:
- Full-screen keyboard
- Multi-language support
- Skinable keyboard
Spb Full Screen Keyboard (FSK) can be set up on your desktop computer and
installed on your mobile device using Active Sync or a stand-alone CAB file can be installed
directly on your mobile device.
Spb FSK replaces the soft keyboard that is a standard
part of Windows Mobile.
Microsoft’s keyboard is small, requiring a stylus
to accurately hit the keys.
Spb offers a replacement keyboard with larger keys,
spaced far enough apart to allow for typing with your fingers.
Tapping a key will pop up a larger image as a way
of confirming the key you’ve pressed.
If the Spb keyboard is too tall and you need to
see more of your application, tapping and holding the keyboard key
will shorten the keyboard.
On the other hand, when you need thumb-size keys,
you can tap the keyboard button and go full-screen. When you
click the keyboard button again, your text is entered into your
application (or you can configure the keyboard to automatically
return when you tap the Enter key).
Spb Full Screen Keyboard provides support for multiple languages.
A simple tap on the keyboard will switch between
languages. This would be very useful for anyone who regularly works
in multiple languages.
Dictionary support for non-English languages is
Spb Software House provides a number of support options
on their website, including community forums and
Spb Full Screen Keyboard requires Windows Mobile Professional or Classic.
It uses less than 0.5 MB of program memory and just over 1 MB of storage memory. Additional
storage space will be required if you download any keyboard skins.
BUGS AND WISHES
Because Spb Full Screen Keyboard is a soft
keyboard, you don’t get the click of a hardware keyboard with each
key press. As an alternative, it might be helpful to have an
option for the keyboard to produce a soft, audible click with each
The keyboard layout follows the typical QWERTY
format. To speed up text entry, it could be helpful to add a few
shortcut or macro keys. For example, a single key press could then
enter your full name.
It could also be possible to setup some kind
of text replacement. An option for replacing “n.s.” with “Neal
Stublen” or “fsk” with “full screen keyboard” would provide some
added functionality beyond the standard Windows Mobile soft keyboard.
Spb Full Screen Keyboard 4.0 is available
on the Spb Software House web site for $14.95, or $4.95 if you’re upgrading. A
trial download is also available before committing to a purchase.
Large full-screen keyboard for easy thumb typing
Full-screen or partial-screen keyboard options
Lacks the tactile response of a hardware keyboard
- No shortcut keys or other enhancements
Spb Full Screen Keyboard sets out to provide a better soft keyboard
for Windows Mobile devices and it accomplishes that goal well. Anyone who already has a full
slide-out keyboard may not find
much added value in Spb Full Screen Keyboard. However, if you spend a lot of time
responding to e-mail or jotting down notes on your phone and find your hardware
keyboard awkward or too small, a full-screen soft keyboard may be just the improvement
you’ve been seeking.
I’m fairly pleased with the keyboard on my T-Mobile Wing and will continue
to use it for anything more than a couple of short sentences; a soft keyboard will
just never provide the same tactile response I enjoy with real buttons. But I will
likely keep the Spb keyboard installed for those times when I use the soft
keyboard for short notes or when I already have stylus in hand.