A software keyboard designed to be used by a single finger or stylus. Designed to minimise finger/stylus travel when punching in words. Layout is as below:

   Z  V  C  H  W  K
   F  I  T  A  L  Y
         N  E
   G  D  O  R  S  B
   Q  J  U  M  P  X

more information at http://www.twsolutions.com/fitaly/fitaly.htm

Calling this thing a "one-finger keyboard" is something of a misnomer, since I've never seen it used with fingers. I can't imagine using it on a kiosk because it looks so alien. I suppose it could be licensed to hardware manufacturers for a handicapped-accessible device, but this isn't being done right now.

Right now, the Fitaly keyboard is mostly used in Palm and Pocket PC handheld computers, where it excels. It's measurably better than Palm's Graffiti handwriting recognition and unquestionably better than the QWERTY keyboard that comes with the PalmOS.

The keyboard is laid out like this:

 tab  z  v  c  h  w  k  -  !    <-
caps  f  i  t  a  l  y  ,  ?  return
shift       n  e        .  :   shift
 123  g  d  o  r  s  b  '  (   `  ´
info  q  j  u  m  p  x  /  )   ¨  ˆ

...with lines drawn between the "keys", which are just areas that you tap with your stylus.

The main part of the keyboard is, of course, the alphabet, where the letters are arranged so that the most commonly used ones (in the English language, anyways) are clustered near the center, where they are within three squares' distance of every other letter. (According to the company, i-t-a-l-n-e-d-o-r-s and the space constitute 73% of all keys used in normal English text.) Less common letters are positioned outside the center depending on how often they're used and what letters they're used with most often.

To either side of the center are the space "keys". Capital letters are achieved either by tapping the "caps" or "shift" key or by "sliding" a letter -- that is, to tap and slide your stylus out of the key before releasing.

To the right of the letters are the common punctuation -- comma and period in the middle, where they're closest to everything. Digits are available either via the "123" key or by sliding the punctuation -- 1 and 2 are on top, 9 and 0 are on the bottom. Additional keys allow for tabs, backspacing, returns, and accented non-English characters (ü, è, and so forth) One way or another, the entire 255-character Latin1 ASCII set is available on this keyboard.

Of course, it takes some getting used to. However, a game called FitalyLetris is included which lets you practice by typing in words as they drop down the screen, not unlike the Giraffe game included with the PalmOS to let you practice Graffiti. One option lets you practice typing pre-entered sentences over and over; another lets you train on words derived from the center letters, the middle three rows, the upper-right corner, etc.

The company's tagline is "Fifty words per minute on your palm"; according to the FitalyLetris game, I'm up to thirty wpm after only practicing for a month. In addition, my accuracy is far above what it is using the slower Graffiti text entry. A contest for a bottle of Dom Perignon was held shortly after the product was released, and the winner scored an amazing 82 wpm tapping out forty pre-selected words in under thirty seconds.

The Fitaly keyboard is available as demo software from Textware Solutions (http://www.twsolutions.com), but I would recommend buying the FitalyStamp package. It provides an overlay that sticks to the Graffiti area at the bottom of your Palm handheld, and takes up less RAM to boot. (It includes a "key" to disable/enable the Fitaly keyboard so you can use Graffiti at any time.)

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.