Microsoft is starting a private beta for its iPhone keyboard

Word Flow makes it easier to text with one hand

Microsoft has its own mobile operating system, but that hasn't stopped it from opening a public beta for a new iPhone keyboard.

That's right -- Microsoft's Garage incubator began the private beta for its Word Flow keyboard on Thursday, allowing users to sign up for access to the application as it's being refined. Users who get access to it will be able to install an app that replaces the iOS software keyboard with one made by Microsoft.

The Word Flow keyboard's leading feature is a one-handed typing mode that curves the keyboard around one bottom corner of the screen or another, so that it's easier for people who have another hand full to fire off a quick text message.

Word Flow also syncs with a user's list of contacts, so it's able to autocomplete saved names more easily. People who want a little more style can choose from a set of themes that make it look different from just a standard white typing surface.

And yes, emoji fans will be able to insert their favorite smiley faces, food items and more. Although Microsoft showed off a new set of Windows 10 emoji with a recent beta build, the keyboard will use the standard iOS emoji.

It's unclear when the keyboard will see a broad release. Interested folks can sign up for the closed beta here, but it's not clear how Microsoft is picking testers, or how many will be chosen.

The news comes two months after Microsoft announced it was acquiring SwiftKey, the makers of a popular keyboard for iOS and Android. Overall, this is another announcement in a long string of news from Microsoft that's focused on expanding the company's products to other platforms like iOS.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftiPhone

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?