It Didn't Win Disrupt, But Dryft Could Be The Best Thing To Happen To Tablet Keyboards

We’ve all been there. One minute you’re typing out an email on your tablet and the next you’re fighting with the keyboard because it keeps auto correcting a word incorrectly. It’s frustrating, sure, but it’s something we’ve learned to live with for the sake of convenience.

Learning to live with it wasn’t good enough for the creators of Dryft. At TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference, Dryft competed in The Battlefield, an event that pits 30 startups against each other for the chance to win the coveted Disrupt Cup and a check for $US50,000.

Dryft came in second place, but brought to our attention a product we’d love to (quite literally) get our hands on: a replacement software keyboard for Android tablets that adapts to the user.

Created by Randy Marsden and Rob Chaplinsky, Dryft was born when the pair saw that people buying tablets were also buying keyboards to add onto the devices, essentially turning them back into laptops.

“This is the market saying there’s a problem,” Marsden said on the Disrupt stage.

Unlike a traditional on-screen tablet keyboard, the Dryft keyboard appears when the user actually sets their fingers down on the screen, and it can differentiate when the user is trying to type or just resting their hands on the screen. Once their fingers are in place, Dryft keeps track of each individual finger and carefully displays those letter keys in relation to those finger locations.

Marsden is not new to keyboard innovation. He co-founded Swype, the technology used on Android phone keyboards that lets you drag your finger across the screen to quickly input a word. Chaplinsky is the managing partner of Bridgescale — a successful venture capital firm in Menlo Park.

Below is a demonstration of how Dryft works. You can find other demonstrations and information on the product here.

The keyboard will be available on Android tablets in early 2014, but the hope is that it will eventually be licensed on all mobile platforms.

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