Let’s get straight to it. Typing Khmer characters on your smartphone is not always the easiest thing. Though Cambodia is certainly gaining more and more recognition, it seems that every app to achieve this simple task has its own glitches and shortfalls. However, according to its developers, this new free iPhone app will allow users to type Khmer characters way faster.
Reviews have been stellar on the app store, with one user citing, “I rarely write a review, but this is a must. This keyboard is a lot more convenient than any others khmer keyboard that I ever used.”
Geeks In Cambodia sat down with the team behind this new Khmer character keyboard to find out how exactly does it work and more!
(This interview has been edited for flow and clarity.)
How does the Khmer Smart Keyboard work?
Khmer Smart Keyboard is a smartphone keyboard that allows users to type Khmer characters. What is unique about our keyboard is that we have eliminated the shift key. Instead of this, we use gestures. Users simply tap for a certain character, or swipe down on the same key for another Khmer character.
This makes it such that typing will be faster, and users do not have to constantly press the shift key to view more characters. When testing out the app, we found that users could type 40 words per minute, a huge difference compared to 28 words per minute on other keyboards. Other gestures that we have are swipe left to delete, and swipe right for symbols.
Video demonstrating how to use Khmer Smart Keyboard.
When was it developed?
Khmer Smart Keyboard was developed in October last year when Apple released iOS 8. The new operating system allows developers to add extensions. Before this, users could only add keyboard by jailbreaking their phones. At the time, Khmer keyboards were buggy and difficult to use.
We took three weeks to develop the first version, but three months in total as we added many features and constantly made improvements.
How has the user reception been?
After release, it was top three in the Appstore (Cambodia). We have about 50,000 downloads, at an average of 500 downloads per day. One user reverted that it was way over his expectations.
What were some of the challenges faced during development?
When we were working on the first version, the issues was with the layout. We had to plan how to position characters such that it is user-friendly. This was especially for symbols, we had difficulty in thinking where to position them.
How do you think Khmer Smart Keyboard will help Cambodians?
It will help Cambodians type with Khmer alphabets. Nowadays, many like to use romanised Khmer. Sometimes, that can cause confusion, so it is better for people to cultivate the habit of typing in Khmer characters.
Additionally, some Cambodians use jailbroken keyboards. This might cause problems for their phones. Should their phones be jailbroken, there are also many security issues.
Do you have any advice for the youth of today?
Learn more about new technology, find a problem in Cambodia and solve it. Love what you do and do what you love – you know that you can strive on especially when you are passionate about your work.
“To all Android users, please wait a little while more, when we release it, you’re gonna love it. Also, we would like to say thank you to 5D Lab @ Development Innovations for providing us Lab resources.”