WMPoweruser has supposedly obtained an image from a leaked Microsoft Research presentation showing a curved virtual keyboard that will be implemented into Windows Phone 8 (as seen on right). This will enable one-handed thumb typing and offer keys with grouped letters. The user simply begins to type the message while the software leverages disambiguation to decide what word is being used.
In the image, the user is holding the phone in the right hand. Matching the thumb's angle, the keyboard's arched layout is based on the bottom-right corner. Keys include three or fours letters each, and there's also a Delete button, a Return button and more. The virtual keyboard presumably has a setting that allows it to base itself off the bottom-left corner for left-handed users.
This arched keyboard is likely one of numerous features Microsoft has yet to reveal to consumers. Greg Sullivan, Senior Product manager for Windows Phone, recently admitted that the recent sneak peak was only the tip of the iceberg, that consumers can expect to see plenty more in the run up to the Windows Phone 8 launch later this year.
"We showed a lot at the Sneak Peek event, in San Francisco, if you were a developer or an IT pro," Sullivan told Pocket-lint in an interview. "Of the end-user consumer visible features and capabilities, we showed a minority of features at the event."
Naturally he wouldn't provide specifics as to what Microsoft will reveal next, and there was no confirmation regarding the arched keyboard. But he reiterated that the new release will have a significant amount of new functionality for developers and IT pros, as Microsoft indicated during the Sneak Peak event in San Francisco.
"This release has a significant amount of new functionality for developers and IT pros in particular, and because of the planning cycles involved in getting them the information they need to take advantage of the release when it hits, we thought it was important to confirm and prepare them. Which is partly why we didn't detail all the consumer features," Sullivan explained.
"You have to balance it," he added. "We aren’t vertically integrated like Apple, we have a host of partners we work with, a developer eco-system to think about. We [Microsoft] provide a general-purpose platform that provides a choice of manufacturers and a choice of folks building on it, and that really makes it difficult for us to launch hours after we announce it."
Pocket-lint has a rather lengthy interview with Sullivan which can be read here.