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Kiwi company redefines smartphone keyboards

05 May 2016

Kiwi company MAD Applications has set out to redefine the smartphone keyboard, with a new version of one-handed keyboard app Thumsta.

The different-style keyboard is designed for one handed use of Android and Apple phones and tablets.

Anthony Gardiner, one of the founders of MAD Applications, says Thumsta has been designed with the keys in an arc, to better follow the way your thumb naturally moves over your device’s screen.

Most keyboards for cell phones and tablets are more like re-purposed typewriters on a screen.

“There was no keyboard app that was designed around the way people hold their phones. It was one of those ideas that you can explain in two seconds and everyone understands. We were astounded no one else was doing this,” Gardiner says.

As well as being able to set the app in either left or right handed mode, users can also set the size of the arc that the keys are displayed in simply by dragging the arc to make it bigger or smaller. The iPad version (available for Android tablets soon) has two arcs, with the keys split in half allowing thumb type without having to put their device down on a surface.

The group has released three other apps over the last few months.

“We do this for fun, making cool stuff that us and our friends want to use. Our first app, Netflix SuperBrowse, is an extension for Chrome and Firefox that allows users to search the often daunting Netflix catalogue by secret categories,” Gardiner says.

“These get pretty granular – there is even one for ‘Stand up comedy with Cedric The Entertainer’ and ‘Japanese Anime about Horses.’ This free app popped for us, and now has 200,000 users around the world. I guess it meant less time scrolling through Netflix, which means more time to…chill.”

At $1.29, the MAD Applications collective are hoping that Thumsta proves to be as popular.

“We have had enough downloads over the first few months for the team to have a great night at our local pub,” says Gardiner.

“That was our goal with our first paid app, so anything above that would be a great bonus. Hitting 200,000 downloads means we could do this full-time and that’s our dream,” he explains.

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