MIT Tech Review on history and some future of typing

Why we can’t quit the QWERTY



I think a lot of these things are generally not going to change anything. I suppose if they ever got a device that would read your mind, and get context right so it would properly get the differences for “their/there/they’re” etc, then it would change things. But I don’t expect to see that, especially at an affordable price.

However, I think the TextBlade could very well break the qwerty stranglehold.

Think about why many people don’t switch, even if they are interested in doing so. You learn Dvorak or something and then go to work, but have to use a qwerty keyboard. Or you go to a friend’s place and be stuck with qwerty.

You could carry a small keyboard with you, but all would still be fairly bulky and all would have major compromises and not be pleasant to type on.

Until the TextBlade. Plus, with the ability to pair with so many devices, you don’t have to adjust to multiple keyboard designs even if you use qwerty.

Even the part in your link about machine learning is partially covered by the TextBlade. Not automatically, but with the ability to change boundaries, the result is the same.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if some future version added machine learning.


Good article, thanks for posting. MIT Tech Review is an excellent publication.

Classic Qwerty makes each letter with one finger, and gives you a tactile payoff when you type it.

This has unique benefits that resonate for human writing, and that’s why the Qwerty paradigm is so durable.

That’s the function TextBlade preserves, and what users like about it. TextBlade doesn’t try to replace the qwerty, it builds upon it.

The other schemes don’t do that.

Some use multi-fingers for a single letter like twiddler or the tap gloves.

Most give up tactile confirmation of a good entry - like glass keyboards, projection keboards, camera vision keyboards, or wearable gloves. All of these sacrifice the feel of a successful entry.

They all break the essential proprioceptive feedback loop - the muscle memory connection. That’s why even after decades of offerings, none of them have gotten traction to challenge Qwerty touch typing.

TextBlade is very different from the rest. It takes what we love about Qwerty and distills and strengthens its most powerful essence. One letter per fingerpress, but with even better tactile feel, while simultaneously reducing needless work and stress.

It does this with an instrument that’s even smaller and more convenient than any of these other schemes, and works universally across all our devices.

A lot of smart people have tried to build a better keyboard, but generally don’t embrace the indispensable requirements necessary to advance the paradigm.

TextBlade blends the best of the precedent with what is now possible with new technology.

When you do this right, people find it preferable to their legacy hardware. That’s what we see playing out now with users.


There is one major benefit that these other devices seem to have over TB… they appear to be in stock for shipping.


Yep, despite already shipping more TextBlades than Apple has shipped AirPower mats, both are subject to the same criterion. You’ve got to get the experience right before you do general release, and when you do, everyone gets something they really like.


On the other hand, Apple is only one year late, not … several.


Well yeah, 130,000 staff and a trillion dollar market cap certainly should count for something.

Yet Apple is very much a champion of the same principle. They’ve held stuff back much longer, even many years the public doesn’t know of, until they got it right.

No one handed them the trillion dollars.

They earned it.


Difference is, Apple hasn’t held my money for almost four years, pumping me up about a device that never seems to come. Not, only that, but refuse to give any kind of update about when such device might come.

See the difference. Treat your customers with respect! And tell them when they will receive their device. After this long, you OWE that to us!

Ps, no I don’t not want a refund. Just my keyboard.

Even the fact that customers feel they need to type “no I do not want a refund” should tell you something about how your handling this ?

When will you take accountability for your massive delays on GR or timely status updates. And quit making customers feel like they are the jerks for wanting to know about something they purchased almost 4 years ago.

I only started coming on this forum this year. I didn’t say anything for the first or second year. But with the third year and now the lack of updates, come on Waytools, what do you expect from us. ?


Patience - thanks for your thoughts. We understand how it may feel for you, and sincerely apologize. It’s a little diffferent than how you’ve described it. To suggest we’re indifferent, or provide no information, nor estimate of timing, or we control your preorder - when you may cancel at any time, this doesn’t reflect so fairly. Still, it’s natural to have feelings, and we understand them. We’re working hard to see you very pleased with your choice, and ship yours expedtiously. Thanks

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When ?

Is it going to be before the end of year? I dare you to answer that. I double dare you!

And no, it’s exactly how I explained it! If you weren’t indifferent, you’d give a REAL update and a REAL timeframe for shipping. If after this long you can’t or won’t provide this to your LOYAL customers, well that tells me you don’t really care about your customers. And quit telling your LOYAL customers we can get a refund. We know that. We are sticking with you. Even if you’ve forgotten about us !!


Thank you for your energetic and loyal support.

It will be reciprocated with a TextBlade, and some other goodies too.


We can hardly wait, as you can tell :smile:

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Oh boy. Let’s focus on fairness again. First, for Patience, I think it is pretty safe to say you will not get a shipping date or even a guarantee of “before the end of the year”. It’s easy enough on the outside to be absolutely convinced that they should be able to do so, but it’s all just conjecture, even for those in similar businesses. They literally can’t really know. For reference I would point to the TREG testers who also complained and were “in the business” who changed their view after getting to use one and have a much better idea of the difficulties. But even we only have a little of the info WT has!

OTOH, it is absolutely fair to expect WT to provide an update according to their own announced schedule. After all, it is minimally affected by surprise problems. Oh, sure, things they want to include may take longer than expected, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t many things that can still be covered. So that part, IMO, is a failure on WT part.

I don’t measure WT based on shipping since, other than doing so even if they don’t feel it is good enough, it is a results oriented decision (no matter how much people want it now). But updates? Yeah, I hold them accountable for those based on their own announcements.

Apple does pre order and sticks to the dates they say that it will ship.

In fact they ship no matter what. Even if not perfect. Ah…charge gate.

Say a date and stick to it. Not that hard.

Waytools can’t even stick to their own update dates.

So don’t give me that bs

Pretty sure if Apple did a pre order for a phone and took your money you wouldn’t be waiting 3.5 years for it. I preordered the new XS Max the first day they excepted pre orders. They gave me a date, and guess what… I got a phone on the day they said.

You must not be very picky about customer service. Sorry I am. Especially after this long and seems to be getting worse.

Please tell me how this is different ??? I’ll wait


I’ve often explained why it is different.

Your pick a date and stick to it is simplistic. Like was is South Park who had a thing that had:

A. Steal underpants
B. ?
C. Profit!

That item B that is missing that ignores important details.

It may well be that if they shipped now it would be a huge success. But it may also be true that it would not or at least have enough customer support needs that they can’t keep up - and this doesn’t mean the TB isn’t good enough. As I’ve pointed out before, people are going to has issues that are their own fault, but they will assume it is the TB.

Because the vertical distance is so much closer combined with the fact that you don’t have as obvious a separation between most characters (there is a boundary you can feel, but nothing like hitting a completely separate key!) people will hit the wrong place and assume they were right.

I know this is true. I’ve experienced it myself many times. Using a qwerty example, I may want a “u” but get a “y”. I’m not looking so I move my finger a bit more to the left. But I still get a “y”. I move again and still get the “y”! Finally, convinced I hit it correctly, I look down at my fingers and can see I’m still more on the “y” rather than the “u”! A lot of people are just going to assume the TB is wrong and contact support.

Now, what WT is doing won’t change such things. They are unavoidable. But this means they need to minimize problems they can effect so the TOTAL is manageable.

I’m very concerned about customer service. Which is why I criticize WT about updates. But when it comes to shipping, if they do it too soon and that leads to failure of the company, how does that help customers?

Simplistic, seems to work for Apple.

  1. Announce presale
  2. Deliver on said date that YOU set yourself.

Seems pretty easy to me.

Are they working on the text blade or customer support. If they are working on one, then that should take care of the other.

Ship to soon ? Hardly possible. It’s been almost four years. Do you understand how long four years is? I mean how incredibly off can a company be.

I really can’t think of another piece of tech I’ve had to wait for this long after giving money. It’s really amazing.

At what point will you say, Come on already. 2019, 2020, 2021. Tell me. Fours years is an eternity in the electronics industry.


I’ll remind you again that you are not the only person to say such things. Including those in computer type businesses and, most importantly, including a number who later got in TREG. Yet, while all would like it to ship, the pattern has been that they can at least understand why it has not.

Now, that leaves us with two possibilities. One is that, now that they have theirs they don’t care about anyone else and are afraid of complaining and possibly losing their TextBlade. There are a number of people who routinely make such accusations - always people who don’t actually know, of course.

The other possibility is that these former critics, including developers, who are now in TREG have learned from that experience that it isn’t as simple as it seemed on the outside.

Btw, when comparing to Apple, while there are many similarities, there are also many differences. Including the facts that they have more support resources, an ability to absorb a complete flop in a new product, etc. if someday WT is shipping hundreds of thousands of keyboards, including variations of this, if one turns out not to work well enough after shipping, they could probably absorb that. Both because of their own growth and because great satisfaction with what came before (thus people won’t cut them off for one mediocre product). But that isn’t the case right now.

Perhaps they are being too risk adverse. But it is their risk and it is a heck of a lot bigger than yours.

As a TREG member I have NEVER been told that I can’t post what I honestly think here to the forum community. So I can’t imagine any of the other TREGers have any restrictions or concerns about being honest. Meanwhile most of us are netizens with an online presence and reputation so we wouldn’t say things we don’t feel are true. So you have a couple hundred individuals telling it like it is.

Sure, in my limited knowledge of the status, and my own tech&biz experience I’ve imagined what rollout/release strategy I would use that’s different than what Waytools does. And I’ve definitely imagined a better way to keep the community updated. But at the same time I don’t really know the details so it’s all just idle armchair quarterbacking. Meanwhile I witness firsthand, from my interactions with them, the passion and knowledge that Waytools has and their own goals to not just sell a product but to be a lever for change. They get one shot at it so they can pick when to launch that shot, and everyone here has been around long enough to know they can either stay in or out of the order queue while they wait to see what transpires. The company has one (ish) shot. We consumers have a zillion (ish) shots since we can jump from one tech to another, try out this and try out that.

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@Patience, As I have watched the forums, 100% of the TREG participants say the delay is appropriate.

Because they already have theirs…

Let the questioning of my intelligence, motivation, upbringing, sanity, and objectivity begin!


@SamuraiJack if you became a TREG member, do you expect you would post here that you believe the delay is appropriate for no other reason than because you already have one?

FWIW your 100% number is rhetorical. I don’t think you’ve seen me post that (IIRC). And I doubt you’ve seen more than a few percent say it. Most realistically say they don’t know enough to give an opinion on it, as I did in my post about 20 min ago.