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Get more productive by trying new things

I was working with a client recently that declared that they didn’t want to use Google Apps because Gmail is too “weird”.  While I agree that it’s a lot different than traditional email systems, and certainly isn’t for everyone, most people agree that it makes life easier.  This person wasn’t willing to give it a try simply because it was too different, and (in my opinion) missed out on a lot of time savings.

With that in mind, I try to make it a point to try new things out that might make my life easier.  I’m often playing with new task management systems, and I hate the thought of living without Dropbox or Evernote.  Over the last few years, the incremental changes I’ve made to my daily tasks now save me a lot of time every day.

With that in mind, I’m giving 8pen a solid try on my Droid X.  8pen is a crazy new input method (don’t call it a “keyboard”) that completely changes how you enter letters onto your phone.  Here’s a quick video showing how it works:

I’ll admit, I’m skeptical.  Even having used it a bit, I’m not convinced it’d be any faster than Swype, which I love. That being said, I’m going to keep playing with it for a few days.  I tend to type quite a lot on my phone, and if this can make me even just a little bit faster, it’s worth the time to learn it.  For example, if it can save me three minutes throughout the course of a day, that’s over 18 hours I’d save every year.  Little time savings like that can really add up!

Eugenia at OS News had a few other interesting thoughts about it:

  • In the past, teen users were often able to text each other without looking at the screen using T9 on older cell phones.  That’s no longer possible with most touch screen phones, but (in theory) would be possibly with 8pen.
  • On smaller screens 8pen becomes even more valuable as normal keyboards become even more smushed.

So what do you think? Do we need to rethink the handheld keyboard?  Is 8pen going to change the world?  Or is it just a cool idea that’s a bit too complex for most people?

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Mickey Mellen

Co-Founder and Technical Director

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