DialKeys Gen 2: On-screen Keyboard for UMPCs

No doubt one of the best parts of getting a new handheld device is investigating all the software tools that can be added to make the usage as good as it can be. I have shared some of the utilities that I have found to work well with the Viliv S5 I am enjoying, and today I get to share another.

You may remember the DialKeys on-screen keyboard utility from the original Origami UMPC days. DialKeys was preinstalled on “official” Origami devices; in fact, it was the only way to get the program. Today I got to thinking about DialKeys and wondered if it was still available, so off I went on the web and found it.

DialKeys is a keyboard originally written for 7-inch UMPCs with touchscreens and had a unique semi-circular form, with the QWERTY keyboard split into the two bottom corners of the screen. Typing was a simple tapping process, and it worked surprisingly well. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Gen 2 DialKeys can still do that but so much more. It comes with a number of keyboard skins of all sizes and functions, and they have packed a ton of utility into the program.

There are many window manipulation functions built right into the keyboard, making it easy to control them right from the keyboard. There are scrolling capabilities built into the keyboard, too, and the coolest thing is how you can enter numbers from the alpha keyboard by sliding across the top row and stopping on the number you want. Very well done, and I am not even scratching the surface of capabilities of the program with the short time I’ve been using it.

The circular corner keyboards are still there, but there are many other skins available, too. There are regular on-screen keyboards for those who prefer a traditional QWERTY, and there are special utility skins that put a full suite of system utilities at your fingertips. There is a 21-day free trial available to see how you like it, but if you’re like me you may end up buying it after just a few hours. The program is a little expensive, at $24.95, but I found it so useful I laid down the money for the unlocked version.

Note that most of the keyboards work just fine in either landscape or portrait orientation. Here are some screen shots I took of DialKeys running on the little screen of the S5: