Microsoft has quietly turned itself into one of the best iPhone app developers, and on Friday, it released its first keyboard for the platform.
Hub Keyboard was developed by Microsoft Garage, the company’s experimental project division. Its release for iPhones and iPads comes a few months after the app became available for Android phones.
Other Microsoft Garage apps available for iPhones include Fetch, an app that can identify dog breeds, and News Pro, a reader for industry and trade news.
While there is no shortage of alternative keyboards for iPhones, it’s not surprising that Microsoft would release one. It bought SwiftKey, widely considered to be one of the most advanced alternative keyboards, in February for $250 million. And as competition for people’s default keyboard continues to heat up, even Google is rumoured to be developing its own iPhone keyboard.
Here’s what using Hub Keyboard is like:
Here's what the keyboard looks like. It uses Microsoft's preferred typeface instead of Apple's San Francisco font, so it looks a little bit out of place.
You can find the menu in Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards.
But users do get a few cool features in return. For example, it puts the last thing you copied on a clipboard above the keyboard. Simply tap to paste.
And if you have a Microsoft Office 365 Account, Hub Keyboard can get even better. You can search for saved documents, for example. Or you can search through your contacts saved on your phone or on Microsoft's servers.
However, the Android version is still a bit more fully-featured. It can translate on the fly, for example.
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