Third-Party Keyboards Land On iOS Thanks To New Fleksy SDK

Fleksy_on_iPhone_5

Fleksy, the developer of an innovative third-party keyboard for the blind, launched its own integration software development kit (SDK) by partnering with four other app developers to include in their software.

The partners include Launch Center Pro, Wordbox, GV Connect and BlindSquare, and they’ll demonstrate the innovative approach to keyboarding for everyone.

Replacing something as essential and built-in as the iOS keyboard is tough. In fact, Apple doesn’t let third-parties replace many system-level features like a keyboard to provide a seamless experience across apps. Fleksy is making an end-run around these restrictions by providing a way for other app developers to include the Fleksy keyboard into their apps in the same way that many use Google’s API to allow apps to open web links in the Chrome browser.

Partner app Wordbox is a text editor, while GV Connect is a Google Voice app; Launch Center Pro is a slick app that lets you create one-tap recipes to do almost anything on your phone, like a speed dial for your apps.

You can pick up all four of the partner apps in the App Store, and they each include the Fleksy keyboard as a new feature. Only one of the apps, Blindsquare, focuses on accessibility for the blind, but they all allow you to try out the alternative way of entering text.

“We’ve had a lot of interest [from third-party devs] really since our first release of the app on iOS,” Fleksy’s Ioannis Verdelis told TechCrunch. “We’ve picked four partners who worked with us through the beta process of the SDK, and we’ve tried to have one app that addresses the accessibility market, BlindSquare, and then we picked other popular apps that we think have meaningful use of text input in their design.”

The original Fleksy app, seen in the video below, is an incredibly smart keyboarding system that will figure out what you meant to type from where your fingers tap the screen, with auditory feedback to help those with a visual impairment know when the app picks the right word.

Fleksy hopes to open up the SDK to all developers in the near future, though they’ll continue to be selective for a while. Having an alternative to the iOS keyboard is important to those of us without a significant visual impairment, but essential to those who rely on such alternative means to use Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices. Here’s hoping Fleksy can continue to empower us all to think just a little bit different.

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  • Gadget

    Awesome stuff. Apple will be buying this company in 3..2…

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Games and Tips Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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