In the past, we’ve shared how third-party specialized keyboards can provide additional utility to iOS and Android smartphones (here and here). Yesterday (6/15/2016), the team behind Fleksy, one of the earliest and most popular virtual keyboards, was “acqhired” by Pinterest. (The terms acqhire or acquihired refer to the Silicon Valley practice of buying a company for the talent it has assembled, rather than for the product it sells.)
A post on Flesky’s blog says the Fleksy app will continue to be operational “for the foreseeable future.” They also say that some of the assistive technology they’ve created will be opened sourced.
Fleksy was an early, popular developer of virtual keyboards.However, in recent months, both Microsoft and Google have launched keyboards with the most popular feature of such keyboards, swipe typing. Microsoft has acquired another company, Swiftkey, as well. (Expect a default swipe-typing keyboard on Apple iOS devices soon.)
Why Pinterest? | With Pinterest (and the rest of the world) becoming more-and-more a mobile-first web experience, the Fleksy developers bring a unique skill to Pinterest.
But don’t write off the possibility of a Pinterest keyboard in the future. Indeed, look for keyboards that are tailored for more and more tightly defined user niches
Fleksy said that the team will “work on a variety of mobile-focused projects such as growth, core consumer features, and platform infrastructure.”
“Pinterest is intensely focused on refining the mobile experiences that make it possible to flow effortlessly through our catalog of ideas—on any device, any place in the world,” said Scott Goodson, Pinterest’s head of core experience, in a statement. “The Fleksy team is made up of truly noteworthy engineers and world experts in their areas. These technical artists have a history of developing architecturally innovative, highly optimized software.”
Bottomline | Alternative keyboards can add functionality and ease-of-use to a web application. In addition to developing native apps, look for companies to use keyboards to increase ease-of-use with web apps, also.