Octopus Keyboard brings a BlackBerry 10 styled keyboard to the iPhone

By , May 13, 2012

I may be in the minority, but I think RIM seems to be on the right track with their recently unveiled BlackBerry 10 operating system. There’s nothing in it exactly groundbreaking, but at least RIM appears to be building on a solid foundation for the future.

Whether or not BlackBerry 10 is enough to save the reeling company still remains to be seen, but at the very least it’s a good attempt by the Waterloo, Ontario based smartphone maker.

As a testament to how much better BlackBerry 10 is when compared to previous BlackBerry software, a jailbreak tweak has been created that actually emulates the functionality of a BlackBerry. Has that ever been done before?

Octopus Keyboard is an upcoming jailbreak tweak that seeks to bring RIM’s new gesture based predictive typing to iPhone users. The tweak is still in the early stages of development, but developer, Mario Hros, was kind enough to give me sneak peak of what he’s been concocting.

Take a look inside for a full video walkthrough of Octopus Keyboard in action…

As you can see, it’s a pretty good iPhone implementation of RIM’s new-fangled predictive gesture based keyboard. It’s certainly not perfect, being this early in the developmental stages, but Hros has another week on his time table to get it working just as he envisions it.

As of now the Octopus keyboard can do the following:

  • Automatically learns new words as you type them
  • Custom completion engine
  • Should work for any input language with key input (English, French, Czech, Russian, etc.)

Here are some of the remaining items that he wishes to accomplish before go-live:

  • Avoid learning mistakes
  • Autocapitalize words in sentences
  • Handle , . ! etc at the end of a sentence
  • Better handling and display of longer words
  • Compatibility with popular tweaks like SwipeSelection

Using Octopus Keyboard involves a small learning curve, but judging from my brief hands-on experience using it, getting mastery over it will probably take a bit of time. This isn’t a knock against the tweak, as I think it would take me some time to get use to RIM’s implementation as well.

It’s still too early to tell if using the predictive gesture based text input will provide enough significant benefits to greatly improve typing efficiency, but I think RIM may be on to something here.

Honestly speaking, anything beats iOS’ pathetic excuse for predictive text input (aka autocorrect), so I’d be willing to invest the necessary time to get good at using Octopus Keyboard if the final product turns out as well as I think it may.

I should also mention that it’s still a bit too early to really derive many benefits due to some of the issues that the developer plans on squashing prior to release. The most obvious issue I encountered was with it learning incorrect words, and problems with capitalization. Again, these will be remedied upon release.

Actually using the tweak by swiping up on an individual key works surprisingly well. I was under the impression that the iPhone’s keyboard would simply be to small to accomodate a feature like this, but I rarely found myself making mistakes due to keyboard size and placement. I did find that using landscape input provided a bit more real estate that made some of the longer words fit on the keys better, but that too is an issue that Hros wishes to address before go time.

If you’re anxious to try Octopus Keyboard, you won’t have to wait much longer; it’s slated to hit Cydia on May 20th — a week from today. Regarding price or repo, there is still currently no information.

What do you think about the new BlackBerry 10 keyboard feature — and by extension, what do you think about the upcoming Octopus Keyboard jailbreak tweak?

It’s kind of funny that we will be able to use this feature before your average BlackBerry user. Will you consider using it?

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  • http://twitter.com/sivkai Siv

    I quite like this. UI needs a bit of working though…

    • http://www.youtube.com/myjailbreakmovies/ Jeff Benjamin

      Yeah, let’s hope Mario can get it polished up before next week. It certainly has promise.

  • http://twitter.com/kozaa Andrei

    would be great with swipeselection!

  • http://twitter.com/Rongmario Ethan Mahmood

    Color Keyboard compatability?

  • Anonymous

    The question is: will it work with swipeselection?

    • http://www.youtube.com/myjailbreakmovies/ Jeff Benjamin

      Yep, I included in the article above that he is working on SwipeSelection compatibility.

      • http://twitter.com/T1rell T1rell

        if you combine it with swipeshiftcaret, which has been updated to provide the same features as swipeselection but swiping on the text instead of the keyboard(which is way more useful to me, since i ve always been having a bug where the first letter i did my swipe on would be locked in, and as soon as i d start typing, all the letters i d been swiping over would appear…)
        you wouldnt even have to worry about compatibility.

      • Anonymous

        Is it just me, or does swipeshiftcaret not work in the stock messages app

  • Connor McLaughlin

    Isn’t anyone else thinking of Swype when they read this?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eddy-Castro/100002700279401 Eddy Castro

      No… There is no swiping between letters. How do you think of swype?

    • Anonymous

      There is swype for iPhone, but its not perfect and they haven’t done any updates for it. I’d like to see a completed swype.

      • Anonymous

        Exactly, my thoughts.

  • http://twitter.com/amoney82 A_Money

    I like it

  • Max Katzmann

    Will totally give this a try, when I’ll finally be able to jailbreak my iPhone.. Can’t wait!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1595420643 Simche Apple Konstantinovic

    OMG, I WANT IT SO MUCH!! Jailbreak Community is Awsome :D With Swipeselection compability, I’ll buy this tweak for sure!

  • http://twitter.com/Devin_Plebuch Devin Plebuch

    Hmmmm. I type fairly swiftly and rarely even look at they keyboard. Not so sure it’ll actually speed anything up in my case, but it’s still a nifty little tweak.

  • http://twitter.com/Fr0sT_RC1 Matt

    Awesome! Was wondering when this was going to happen. I love that all of the great things about android devices and now BB devices can all be under one roof inside of an iPhone/iPad. I appreciate all devices in all flavors thanks to devs like Mario.

  • http://twitter.com/Protocol_L Tyler Ladner

    I need a good way to download YouTube videos on a 4s 5.1.I got it on 5.1 and I don’t have the blobs.I just need a good one from the app store, because my cspire plan doesnt support video streaming.

  • http://twitter.com/SgtSmackSmith Johnny 2Balls adidas

    Definitely looking forwards to this! haha sorry blackberryers

  • http://twitter.com/RECON1_ [RΞCØИ1]

    This looks neat. Hopefully works better than Swype. You said you swipe up on the letter to complete the word? It doesn’t interfere with the hold on the letter for accents and stuff right?

  • Anonymous

    Watch out for RIM legal…

    • http://twitter.com/adamjamess Adan J Salinas

      Lol, they probably got laid off

  • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

    Pretty cool but itll take a bit of getting used to. I can type what was typed in the video ten times faster without looking at the keyboard. I think this would just slow me down.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1789190219 Oli I’Anson

    I wonder if this will be quicker then just typing the word though, I imagine it being slower. The process of swiping up is slower then just pressing letters.

    I will try it out though

  • http://twitter.com/Telejeesus Telejeesus

    Nice, I want it now.

  • Matheus Bertoluci

    portuguese?

  • Matheus Bertoluci

    Portuguese ?

  • Anonymous

    I’m still waiting for Swype ( which I use on my Nokia N8 & SGS2) to show up on iOS. :/ I am eager to give Octopus a go too.

  • Andreas Wedenig

    wich source do i need to find this?

  • http://twitter.com/lets_go_luigi Ryan_Holness!!

    ill try it when the iOS 5.1 jailbreak for iPhone 4 S comes out

  • http://twitter.com/lets_go_luigi Ryan_Holness!!

    ill try it when the iOS 5.1 jailbreak for iPhone 4 S comes out

  • Anonymous

    I hope this is compatible with KBShortcuts and SwipeSelecyion!lol

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, it’s been on my 4S since the beginning, but it’s still very beta (raw), as you stated. It seems that the tweak has been dropped/ forgotten, unfortunately. Thanks anyway. ;)

  • Dayne Putnam

    Is there a way to contact the Dev?

    I have some suggestions or ideas i would love to hear his opinion on.

  • Anonymous

    this so-called application by RIM a few differences with a copy of the application for Symbian Swype Pen Input and output which is already for some time, plus it has a multitude of dictionaries that come with it and we can enrich with new words, I have apparently not seen any proposals in this direction with Octopus.

  • Amine Lahlou

    Cant wait ! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/nfb5026 Nate Braskey

    Why was the word “cost” on the F?

  • http://twitter.com/Tobicool Tobias Neumann

    Where is it now?

  • rahul vaswani

    hey jeff still watting for that Octopus Keyboard its almost week now
    thanks

  • http://twitter.com/iCkzio ✞Mick✝

    You said : it’s slated to hit Cydia on May 20th ,but ….

    • David Villamizar

      I hope they last more to release the teak, that way it’ll be a great and polished tweak, not something to erase due to memory leaks or malfunctioning.

  • http://twitter.com/young2ceasar Marvin J

    When is the Release ?
    Its One week Ago that youve Posted that :)

  • Anonymous

    So does anyone know in what repo we can find Octopus Keyboard? It was scheduled to hit Cydia on the 20th, but I can’t locate it anywhere. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

    • http://twitter.com/behindtheark : )Y ▲ S I N

      Yeah, it was in Alpha. Mario had a lot of polishing up to do, he also had to update his other tweaks. Check back during the weekend, that’s when it’s scheduled to release.

  • http://twitter.com/1337Rocket Rocket Man

    Is it possible for the developer to give some Information about when this will be available? You should take your time to make it good but please give out some estimation :-) we can’t wait

  • Vikash Patel

    is it out yet?

  • Wild Star

    yes i think its great

  • http://twitter.com/Telejeesus Telejeesus

    Any idea when this is going to be in Cydia?
    Or repo that I can have it now?

    • http://twitter.com/behindtheark : )Y ▲ S I N

      As of yet, not sure which repo it is in. But check back during the weekend.

  • http://twitter.com/iCkzio ✞Mick✝

    No HOPE –

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=27310722 Joe Delamater

    Hi have you made this public yet? Tryin to find on cydia. Thanks!

  • Amine Lahlou

    Hi,
    No news yet ?

    • http://twitter.com/behindtheark : )Y ▲ S I N

      Implementing word learning from Messages/Mails for Octopus Keyboard. Don’t ask for ETAs – I am doing my best to release this weekend.
      Check tomorrow or ask me for further updates.

      • Amine Lahlou

        Hello, Do not hesitate if you need a Beta tester :)

  • Marc Went

    Anything today

  • http://www.facebook.com/ctrmotorsports Hector Salazar

    Any luck?

  • http://twitter.com/Telejeesus Telejeesus

    Where I find this(repo)???
    I have not managed to found this :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/frank9000 Francesco Suarez

    will this ever work for me i have the beta version i think cz ihad to add a repo, but if it comes out will i need to pay 5 again cz i already have paid for it and when it comes out will it be compatible with other tweaks that might make it not work on the beta version????