Windows 8 virtual keyboard based on Windows Phone

At the beginning of the month, Microsoft officially unveiled its tablet-friendly successor to Windows 7, codenamed “Windows 8.” The Redmond-based company’s next operating system borrows many user interface (UI) elements from Windows Phone, particularly live tiles.

Microsoft isn’t expected to release the first public beta until the BUILD conference in September, but early builds have already been leaked on the internet. The latest, build 7989, features a virtual keyboard which bears a striking resemblance to the one on Windows Phone.

The Windows 8 virtual keyboard, like its mobile counterpart, includes predictive text and familiar sounds. The predictive text, however, only displays one word at a time and is located directly below the cursor. The handy selection of emoticons has been expanded to include special symbols like cake and coffee.

The keyboard also supports handwriting recognition–a feature Microsoft has had in Windows for years–and allows users to switch between standard and two-handed keyboard layouts.

Microsoft Research put significant effort into designing the Windows Phone keyboard, so adapting it for Windows 8 is a logical move. It’s an exciting time for Windows on tablets. BUILD can’t come soon enough.


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William Devereux

William Devereux is the former Microsoft editor at Pocketables, as well as a Microsoft MVP and SkyDrive/ Insider. As his title implies, he wrote about all things from Redmond, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone. He is currently carrying a Windows Phone 8X by HTC and a Microsoft Surface with Windows RT tablet.

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