A year ago today, we launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $10,000 to fund [Minuum](minuum.com), a tiny, one-line, virtual keyboard that frees up screen space on phones and makes typing on wearable devices possible. The response was overwhelming: we made the reddit front page, raised 873% of the our funding goal, and a company was born.

What started as me (Will Walmsley) working on my own, has now grown to a company of 10 people. Right now seven of us are living and working in a house in the SF Bay Area, California (moving here from Toronto to participate in Y Combinator’s winter 2014 cohort), trying to make Minuum’s motto of “type anywhere” a reality.

We’ve since put Minuum not only on phones, but also on: smart watches, smart TVs, Leap Motion (and more coming soon).

To say it’s been a busy, stressful, but ultimately very exciting year is a huge understatement.

Last week, six months after launching in beta on the Google Play Store, we released Minuum 2.0 for Android (it’s free to use for 30 days). To celebrate this exciting milestone and our one-year anniversary since the fateful crowdfunding campaign launched (on our cake day, too!), I (Will [username:w--w]), along with my fellow founders (Xavier [username:wxswxs] and Severin [username:spaky]), thought we’d answer any and all of your questions regarding our experience so far - making a new keyboard (especially the science behind it), running a startup, going through crowdfunding, and everything in between. Ask us anything!

PROOF: https://twitter.com/minuum/status/446344078523764736

Edit: Thanks for all the great questions and kind wishes! We'll try our best to look back once in a while to keep answering questions that we haven't yet gotten to.

Comments: 238 • Responses: 64  • Date: 

brendan1021116 karma

Hey, happy birthday! I'm curious, have you any plans on implementing minuum on the Moto 360? I don't even know if it's worth it but it would be interesting to type qwerty on a circle display.

minuum14 karma

Definitely! We're signed up already :)

The best thing about being a one-line keyboard is that you can curve more nicely than a full keyboard can. Alternatively, because we're so thin, we could nicely fit along the center of the circle display and have room for content both above and below the keyboard.

One of our ideas for a rounded watch display, depending on the hardware, would be to actually rotate the bezel from left to right to choose letters (so no touchscreen required). Kind of like the interface on the Nest... which we'd also love to type on.


minuum10 karma

precisely :)

[Edit: well, except for the whole knob-in-the-middle part]


SlenderTroll3 karma

On Android Wear devices in general, really

minuum9 karma

Yup - Android Wear seems to be Google's logical extension of the Glass project, which we've already been thinking about


jblake910 karma

Can you describe your method of marketing while your Indiegogo campaign was live?

minuum14 karma

In the end, it was quite simple: we emailed a couple of tech journalists, and TechCrunch wrote an article about us within 3 hours of launching - from there, the internet exploded with media coverage, and the single biggest contributor to our million YouTube views was someone's Reddit post of our video, which hit the front page.

My opinion is generally that our success was entirely dependent upon the shareability of that video.

It's actually quite funny how we had a detailed plan for the whole month of the crowdfunding campaign, which we never ended up following - we heard that it was important to hit 20% of your funding goal within the first two days, so we had carefully prepared emails ready to send to everyone we knew. We also had a long list of events that we planned to attend to promote Minuum in. In the end, we never had a chance to do any of this because we were inundated with media inquiries for the next few weeks.


sabret00the9 karma

I'm a huge fan of Minuum, it's the only keyboard I can type with my thumbs on, so thank you for providing it.

As an experienced user, I have a couple questions.

What have you implemented which you were initially really against?

How does the language model algorithm differ for US English and the yet to implemented UK English?

and last but not least, will we ever see Emoji without needing to use the horrid bottom panel?

minuum11 karma


What have you implemented which you were initially really against?

Our original beta testers (who supported us on Indiegogo) got to experience the first ever version of the keyboard with no full-sized keyboard mode. We resisted the concept of having a full-sized keyboard because we were worried it would detract from the concept of the smaller keyboard.

Since announcing Minuum 2.0 last week, we've heard even more requests from people who actually want to use Minuum for its full keyboard mode, because they only occasionally need to switch to the smaller version. While this initially seemed quite strange to us, we ended up building in a bunch of new full-keyboard-specific customizable settings for the 2.1 release this morning.

We've come around to accepting people's desire for a full keyboard once in a while; I feel that giving people access to the full keyboard through a quick gesture shortcut might actually help to reinforce the direct visual+functional connection between the full/compact modes. That's why the little keyboard works, after all - because it's so similar to the big one!

How does the language model algorithm differ for US English and the yet to implemented UK English?

The algorithm doesn't change there; it's all about getting the right dataset to build the language models from. We've built our current English language model as a hybrid between the two (US and UK) until we obtain enough UK-specific data to build a separate module.

will we ever see Emoji without needing to use the horrid bottom panel? :) I should think so - Emoji functionality is something that we've been treating as very much experimental, to gauge people's responses to it. We've been rapidly iterating with its functionality, and have a few major changes planned already.

We've been thinking of our bottom panel as a means of providing additional benefit to people who don't care enough about their screen space, and would rather us provide additional functionality instead. We're actually curious about the literary implications of having Emoji characters always present; i.e. how does the structure of the input method inform how people choose to communicate?

What do you find so horrid about the panel, and what would you prefer? An emoji mode that can be selected analogous to the switch to numbers mode?


christopherw1 karma

To whit, have you considered a feature which aggregated screen take and the corrected word to get some gainful form of average data about the word they were intending to type? Of might then also build up a database of contextually frequent words and refine the guess algorithm.

If you detect a used preferring the Canadian/UK spellings, could you weight the autocorrect to the S variants until the proper dictionary?

I must congratulate the team for simple but powerful gestures like the double press for switching between one-line and full keyboards. The odd occasion I'm using another keyboard or device, it frustrates me when it doesn't do anything.

Also, the mistype detection (and on the fly correction for full mode) are great. I just wish there was an expandable smiley panel which you could add your own to!

The swipeable bottom 'bonus' row with cursor and clipboard control is very useful.

Could a full character map style panel be added from the Shift button menu or something?

Finally, a more general AMA question - have you had any expressions of interest from OEMs or other companies about acquisition or exclusive licensing of the IP yet? ;-)

minuum2 karma

Yup, that's close to how Minuum currently learns new words, so that it constantly adapts to your personal typing style.

Re: US vs. Canadian/UK spellings, a process of detection + weighting as you describe would certainly help to refine your language model much more rapidly, but we first need to get enough data about the differences between the dialects so that we can perform that detection properly.

We've considered letting the smiley panel serve as something closer to a "character map" style panel, with customizable symbols; but the hard part is figuring out how to limit what set of symbols you get so that it doesn't take too long to find what you're looking for.

Regarding your last question, let's just say none that we can talk about at the moment ;)


Darkencypher1 karma

Don't know if you remember me but I was in /r/android suggesting things for the keyboard. You guys are freaking awesome.

The autocorrect turns off when the keyboard goes down. Any way for that to stay on?

minuum2 karma

This should have been fixed in the version 2.1 update today - what version are you using? -Will

Darkencypher1 karma

Just downloaded the app again (had purchased a while back) so the 2.1 update. This is the full keyboard btw....and when i mean down, i mean goes away. Not the small keyboard.

minuum1 karma

Good catch! That was a last minute bug introduced yesterday, we'll put out a fix shortly. -Will

ngo937 karma

Have a few questions about 2 features I would like to see..

1) One of the main reasons I can't fully switch to using Minuum is that the enter key sends sms, instead of entering a new line. Will you implement that option anytime soon? Entering new lines is pretty important for when messages get lengthy.

2) The bonus panels seem like they could be implemented much better, especially the emoji one. Having a constant emoji bar down there below the keyboard just seems like a waste of space to me, and it looks messy. It would be great if we could just have an emoji button on the keyboard (like have an option for the star to be an emoji button instead) and have the emoji panel pop up, covering the keyboard and the word prediction bar. That would give us more space for to see more emojis at once instead of just a tiny little strip of them. And if possible, organize the emojis into separate panels like they are organized in the regular emoji list? (the way they are organized in Hangouts app)

Thanks for reading! Love the keyboard despite these things, which I hope will be reviewed soon!

minuum8 karma

Hi, We put out a fix for your first issue this morning! You should get an update soon.

For the second, the bonus panels are still experimental, and we are always looking to improve them. Paginating the emoji is definitely a good idea, keep an eye out for that, and other changes, coming up.

Thanks for the feedback, and glad you love Minuum! -- Xavier

NetBender6 karma

Which are your future projects?

minuum7 karma

Aside from our Android app, we're planning to focus a lot on smart watches, and are talking to a bunch of manufacturers about getting Minuum in on their devices.

Smart TVs / game consoles are also in dire need of better typing solutions, and I especially like that any motion-sensing device could be used to fix that typing experience (e.g. a wiimote, Myo, Ring, your phone, etc.).

I'm mostly passionate about the smart watch case because we really feel like we're unlocking so much more functionality in the device by letting you type there.


Dietcokke6 karma

Hey Guys,

I've been using your keyboard since being accepted into the beta. There was a rough patch where the keyboard would crash fairly often on my phone, so I had to use a different keyboard for a while. You guys fixed that issue though and I'm back to using Minuum full time.

If you can, I know admitting to/talking about certain bugs or development issues can be a slippery slope, what were the top unexpected bugs / development difficulties you come across? How did you fix/overcome them?

Finally, great work guys. I love the hell out of the keyboard and recommend it to anyone who will listen.

minuum6 karma

Sorry about the crashes! One of the most unexpected bugs turned out to be an Android bug buried deep in their text-processing code. That was causing our crashes on Android 4.1, and unfortunately it took us quite a while to track down and work around.

Another thing that we struggle with is different applications' implementations of the API that connects them with keyboards. If people just use the standard Android text fields they're fine, but a number of applications customize things and then don't implement the APIs correctly. We have our own workarounds for a number of popular applications that all fail in subtle ways. For instance, one application has strange behaviour if we ever empty its text-field, so we have to make sure to always temporarily introduce extra characters before correcting the text. -- Xavier


Hi, I am a student in a coding bootcamp in the SF bay area.

What kind of development technologies did you use to build this?

Java? Javascript? Ruby on Rails? Python? C++? etc..

minuum8 karma

It's an Android app, so most of it is written in Java. The core algorithms that power our disambiguation need to be fast and portable to other platforms, so we wrote them in straight C99. -- Xavier

tabrizz5 karma

Congratulations guys, do you have in mind adding a short way to add new words to personal dictionary?

minuum5 karma

Hey tabrizz,

Right now if you precisely enter a new word, either by long-pressing to access the precise selection popups, or by switching to the 2d keyboard (long-press with 2 fingers), that word is learned, and will be in your personal dictionary. -- Xavier

KingPokito4 karma

Is there a particular reason why it takes so long to give support for other languages? I really like the idea but i really need to have it in Dutch before i can use it.

minuum3 karma

We took a step back to focus on improving our original language models before moving on to the next set - we're aware that Dutch is one of our most highly requested languages, and we'll be building support as soon as we get enough Dutch language put together. I also can't wait to let you use it! -Will

hectorviov3 karma

I really loved Minuum when I tried it, the only problem is, and that is why I don't leave SwiftKey is the simultaneous multiple languages. Is there a plan to support this feature on future releases? Like using the dictionary for 2 or more languages at the same time, not having to switch?

minuum1 karma

That's a difficult problem, but one that we hope we can address (some of us write in multiple languages, too). It will also be a bit more difficult for Minuum because it's already expecting such imprecise typing... So no promises, but we're as eager for this functionality as you are! -Will

ulab1 karma

I understand the difficulties. Perhaps it's easier to not support two languages at the same time, but allow for faster switching than it is now.

minuum2 karma

Have you tried our Turbo mode? (It's experimental, and only works on some devices) Go to Settings->Experimental and advanced->Turbo Mode to enable faster language switching. -Will

Aybdo0o3 karma

I really enjoy using minuum. I've been using since the indiegogo days and it's real improved over time. I can't see myself using any other keyboard, in fact it's quite uncomfortable for me to use any other keyboard =P. Anyways my question is, will you release minuum on windows and if so is there an expected time? It will be really awesome to use it on my windows tablet.

minuum3 karma

As far as I'm aware, Windows doesn't yet provide an easy way for a virtual keyboard to integrate with the platform - but let me know if I'm wrong!


Malfred2 karma

Will you ever bring back the quick ":)" key that was located above the "k" I believe? That was one of my most used quick keys and I was sad to see when it was gone. I love everything about your keyboard though, keep up the good work!!

minuum5 karma

You know, that key was originally always a placeholder, we meant to replace it with access to different functionality, as we have now. However, since then, we've all come to miss the little guy :(, and we've had a number of people tell us that they loved fast-access to their smiley too :), so we're looking to put it back in. -- Xavier

vasach2 karma

Is there any ETA on support for Russian language?

minuum1 karma

We're working with some Russian datasets now, we'll see how it goes. :) -Will

anthony812122 karma

Hi Will,

I went to the IUW 2012 conference (2012 Inter-University Workshop Hosted by The University of Toronto Human Factors Interest Group) and saw you present your work there. It was really fascinating and it is amazing to see how much the software has come since then. There wasn't an android keyboard yet back then!

I thought about approaching you after your presentation and asking you if you needed any help with minuum or anything else, but unfortunately I was about to leave to another country for another co-op, so I thought I wouldn't be very useful. I really regret not approaching you and asking, because I'd love to have been a part of this.

Anyway, best of luck with everything!

minuum1 karma

Thanks! That was a fun talk - little-known fact, Minuum was originally Rotext - some of the stuff that I talked about then has just come out as a journal publication (after over a year in publication limbo): http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2542544


The Minuum keyboard came about to solve the problem created by typing on small screens with large keyboards.

Minuum represents one of many solutions to the above problem. What advantages does Minuum have that generates staying power in the market place as Minuum alternatives (Voice, Retina, Large Keyboard 2.0) make steady improvements?

minuum3 karma

Other communication alternatives (like voice typing) are certainly a very natural way to use technology - but they just aren't practical in every situation. Voice typing breaks down in social/professional circumstances where you don't want to speak everything out loud to your device, or when you're simply in a noisy environment. We're a big fan of voice typing, and we've made sure to integrate it into Minuum for Android as a gesture shortcut; I see Minuum as complementary there, not a replacement.

The real staying power behind Minuum is its extensibility to any imaginable input dimension; with only one dimension of input required, Minuum is less constrained (which is useful both to the manufacturer of a device, and to the user of a device). Whatever the future holds, Minuum will have a way to type there.


lichorat2 karma

Are you going to add support for people who develop apps on their android devices using something like AIDE? It would be awesome to be able to code while on the go.

minuum1 karma

That's certainly an exciting area that we're very aware of - do you have any specific thoughts about what keyboard features would most immediately help you out when developing in AIDE?


rear_window2 karma

Hi there! Congratulations on a great piece of innovation!

Ergonomic question for you: I find the bottom edge of the phone to be fairly hard to reach compared to other parts of the screen. Is there a user interaction argument for putting a keyboard at the bottom (vs along the side, top or floating) or is it just aesthetics?

minuum1 karma


It's all about letting you see as much screen as possible when your fingers are pressing on the keyboard - so mostly aesthetic, but I consider this to be somewhat functional as well. If you're able to hold your phone low enough (depends on the phone model), it doesn't have to be any less ergonomic. I used to think that functionality to allow Minuum to be resizable and float around on the screen was its most important feature - I think that's still useful, but not quite as dramatically useful on a smaller phone as on tablet, and we haven't very many requests for this, so haven't prioritized it. (We've had this mostly built for a while now, it's just a matter of squeezing out some major bugs that we haven't had time for.)

Typing on the edge of a device is an interesting thought - and one that I'm looking forward to investigating when we get our hands on a phone with edge-sensing capabilities.


RedsforMeds2 karma

I watched your video form androidpolice and I was curious as to why all "viral" videos have the same up-beat music and editting style.

Is there a company you go to that specializes in these kinds of videos, or is it a multitude of companies that emulate the style because it works?

How long does a video like that take to create, and how expensive is it?

minuum3 karma

We made that video entirely ourselves (I've done a bit of video work in the past), and I actually spent about four months starting-and-stopping on making the video, because we kept writing scripts and I kept not liking them. Finally, this one emerged and just felt right - the tone clearly is a bit over-the-top, but it made the video more fun. We actually "borrowed" a bunch of high-end cameras from a computer vision research lab at the University of Toronto (which Xavier was part of at the time), and captured all of the footage around campus - the total budget for the video was under $100 (mostly spent on buying the vintage typewriter).

Setting up the video to be slightly made fun of actually turned out to be one of the major contributors to its success, at least on Reddit. The most rewarding part was having all of the complaints be about the video's tone, and not about the technical content :)


highguyhigh2 karma

Congrats, great to hear success stories like yours. Besides reddit, where else did you raise awareness of your Indiegogo campaign?

minuum2 karma

We actually never even considered using Reddit to promote the Indiegogo campaign - that just happened naturally, apparently. As I mentioned in a post above, all that we did was seed a wave of media attention by contacting a few tech journalists (we did also put out a press release, but that proved less effective than a small handful of the direct emails that we sent).


angelgzg1 karma

He plans to predict several words without typing space?

minuum1 karma

Yes! Not sure when exactly but we definitely want to add this. -- Xavier

champagne_laugh1 karma

Happy birthday Minuum team! Ever since I heard about your keyboard, I was very intrigued and bought it ASAP. Unfortunately, even though I love the concept, I have had a hard time using it as my daily driver due to the lack of my native language. Could you hint at when, say, Danish will be supported?

Keep up the good work and I'm looking forward to being able to use your keyboard!

minuum1 karma

Thanks! Danish is a bit farther out that some other languages that have come up here, but we'll get to all the languages eventually :)


NienorGT1 karma

I'm so happy that despite my limited cash I could support a project this awesome (Oh and fellow Canadian here!). I'm really proud to have the Minuum Indiegogo edition in the play store!

Now my questions is: - Is it thinkable to hope that Minuum will once in the future have better suggesting and correcting ability akin of Swiftkey? You see, I have mild dyslexia/dysgraphia and I'm kind of screwed if I can't spell a word correctly on Minuum where Swiftkey can help me with that. - In the same way, it's also a problem if you stop writing a word in the middle when something distract us. Since we tap anything and not only the correct letters, it's hard to catch up where we were in the typing.

minuum1 karma

We majorly improved on our handling of misspellings back in November when we revamped our algorithms to handle accidental inserted and omitted letters, though there is certainly more that we could do in this area. Have you used Minuum much since then? I'm not sure if we'll ever entirely be able to handle misspellings quite the same way a big-buttoned keyboard can.


shikuru1 karma

as an Israeli user are there any plans to implement Hebrew?

minuum1 karma

We have some more research to do fully understand what is involved with supporting Hebrew, but we have some data available to us and so may get this supported in the near future. Keep your fingers crossed!


WiltChamberlicious1 karma

One quick question while you're still here: I was a backer and brief user for your Indiegogo campaign, but have since bought a new Android and haven't reinstalled. I've become inspired by what you've said here today to give Minuum another chance. How do I get the full Minuum via the Play Store without paying for it?

Thanks for doing this ama. Happy birthday, Minuum!

edit: I found out how! Best of luck with your minuum adventures.

minuum1 karma

Great! Hope you enjoy it!


hanakon1 karma

Hi there, and happy birthday!

As a long-time Android user with a fascination for innovative launcher and keyboard projects, I have to say that I'm very happy to see the amount of progress made and success enjoyed by Minuum in just one year. Minuum is the most innovative Android keyboard approach I've seen since 8pen (which didn't turn out nearly so well).

At this point, I keep three keyboards installed: SwiftKey because I've used it for so long and can still manage the highest WPM output with one hand using it, Minuum for all the reasons mentioned in my previous paragraph, and Google Japanese Input because neither of the former two keyboards offer Japanese input yet.

I would of course be happy to uninstall the Google Japanese Input keyboard the instant SwiftKey or Minuum offers Japanese input as I much prefer unified applications over fragmentation, but I recognize the logistical difficulties in implementing a language that doesn't fit well in an alphanumeric design.

What I'd really like to know is, are you considering implementing a swiping functionality into Minuum, and do you think this would be feasible or effective? In your Indiegogo campaign you featured a video that demonstrated twisting a controller left or right to move a letter-selecting dial along the Minuum line.

I thought since then that it would be an inevitable innovation for Minuum to add the option for swipe-based input, such that a user could run their finger back and forth along the line switching direction when they hit the approximate location of the letter they want. My thinking is that this style of input would work similarly to tap input--a change in direction or pause constitutes a tap, and a pause followed by lifting the finger constitutes a tap plus a space--and as a result Minuum could be just as easily used one-handed and would appeal more to SwiftKey users like myself.

I don't have much of a programming background, so I'm imagining this as being fairly simple but perhaps there are some barriers I'm not considering. What do you think?

Cheers, Cory

minuum1 karma

Hi Cory,

That's certainly an area that we'll be putting more thought into (it was originally going to be the core concept behind the touchscreen keyboard), but the main difficulty is the way that it conflicts with our other gesture actions.

Pausing is one way of doing this, though that's a bit less reliable than if the user actually "bounces" between letters, similar to how the air-typing works in this Leap video of ours: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmEy9jxwte4

We'll see what we can do! This is, after all, one of our top-requested features.


gkidd1 karma

The mini version is worthless if you use the English language keyboard for typing other languages.

That aside, it's awesome for English! This is amazing, yes it takes a little time to adjust, but I got it rolling in no time.

I like the big version too, but there are a bunch of features SwiftKey has that I can't live without. I type fast and I need my keyboard to be as fast as me, so long press time is crucial to me. In SwiftKey I'm able to set it as I like it.

While typing a word I delete a letter and continue to finish it, and than put comma or period, the trailing space is not added! You have no idea how annoying that is.

Cyrillic alphabet.

Other than that, I like the big version, I think I make less mistakes while typing on Minuum than on SwiftKey.

So to my question. Will you make my wishes come true? :)

minuum1 karma

long press time is crucial to me

On the big keyboard, are you referring to the time it takes for long-pressing on a key to make the view appear, or for the actual jump to the secondary character to appear?

We designed that action to work fastest with a slide-up instead of a long-press gesture, so the view appears immediately in case you want to immediately slide up to choose the punctuation mark; long-pressing is more of an option to help transition new users into the slide-up feature. Do you prefer to long-press, or were you unaware of the slide-up functionality? We could fairly easily make this delay configurable, if that's really important to you...

While typing a word I delete a letter and continue to finish it, and than put comma or period, the trailing space is not added!

That's an interesting edge case about punctuation typing that you've pointed out, we're looking into fixing it now :)

We're currently investigating support Russian, at which point we'll very naturally have a Cyrillic layout available. Do you type in Russian, or a different Slavic language?


christopherw1 karma

There is a Minuum subreddit, might you consider officially adopting it for soliciting feedback and interacting with users? Other users and fans could simultaneously offer support and tips to other users. BaconReader does this in a really good way.

minuum1 karma

Perhaps, though it seems to have died out a few months back. Also, note that we do constantly read our user support forum at support.minuum.com to prioritize bugs and user ideas. (You can also consider using that to post tips for other users.) If you have any ideas for how we can use that website better, let me know.


upvizzle1 karma

Hey guys big fan and beta user here....since getting a Samsung GS4 recently I have found that minuum is SUPER sensitive to touches (especially in Google hangouts), I imagine due to the S4 AirGesture feature, but its so sensitive that it gets really confused by fast typing, I have to consciously slow down so it doesn't jumble words... have you seen this and/or are you working on it ?

I love minuum, I think its a great step away from 100+ year old keyboard layout that makes little sense for how people input text now.

minuum1 karma

Hey upvizzle, we actually wrote a blog post about the gesture detection algorithms that can cause these kind of errors when fast typing: http://minuum.com/taps-and-swipes/

We're in the process of recalibrating our algorithms to adapt to various devices, so we should be able to make fast typing work a bit more reliably for you. Thanks for letting us know that it can an issue on the GS4, I'll test that specifically!


john-331 karma

I love the keyboard, but one thing I would love to see is swype texting when the keyboard is full sized. Any chance of seeing that in the near future?

minuum1 karma

We're not focusing on that kind of gesture typing at the moment, but it's not out of the question. Tapping with two fingers is distinctly faster than swiping with one hand, and we're really want to focus on perfecting the interaction with the one-dimensional keyboard before moving on to retrofitting other typing methods.

If we can get gesture typing working well on the one-dimensional keyboard, we'll ramp up our development of building custom gesture typing on the full keyboard as well.


gslze1 karma

Happy birthday!

I don't know if you're still here but I have a couple questions that cover two areas: Minuum itself and entrepreneurship.

Have you talked to valve to bring Minuum to the steam machines? The steam controller seems to be specifically made for a circular Minuum keyboard (eg 1 pad for the letters and the other pad for cursor control/other functions).

When can we have a split keyboard (probably even 2 arcs) for tablets?

How much machine learning is build into Minuum? Where can I learn about machine learning (books/online courses/..)?

How did you figure out what the optimal price on the play store?

minuum1 karma

We have not yet talked to Valve, but if you have a connection there let us know.

Split Minuum for tablets has been put on the back-burner because so many more people use phones, but that's definitely intended to be a core part of Minuum's design there.

Most of the machine learning that Minuum does occurs outside of the phone, when we're building language models that encapsulate the structure of an entire language (really, the work that we do is closer to natural language processing). If you want to learn more about machine learning, you might want to start with this online course: https://www.coursera.org/course/ml

There is no perfect approach to Play Store pricing - our price is mostly determined by the standard rates that other keyboards charge - we've considered choosing radically different prices, but in the end $3.99 for a keyboard seems like a good in-between kind of price for something that will be so thoroughly used if you choose to adopt it as your primary method of input.


minuum1 karma

For the ML and stats that power Minuum specifically: we wrote a blog post outlining some of the details. -- Xavier

ulab1 karma

Are there any plans to have "shortcuts"? Like being able to define a mnemonic that gets replaced with a longer word? So if I type "#pm" it get's replaced with my email address, eg.?

minuum1 karma

No fixed plans yet, but I like the idea.


AsariCommando21 karma

I have Minuum as my second keyboard (after Swype) and I must say the prediction is quite remarkable. That said I find it's weakness to be adding new words. I switch to the full-sized keyboard to do this. Might there be an option for displaying the literal input you're making and then you can tap to add it to the sentence and dictionary?

Good luck with your business!

minuum2 karma

All new words typed in the full or small keyboard are learned automatically. You can ensure that a new word typed with the little keyboard remains unchanged: just confirm each letter by pressing and holding until you see the magnified view appear, and auto-correction won't kick in.


mcmelonhead1 karma

The characters displayed in the keyboard are always uppercase regardless of the state or the shift key. What are your thoughts in having it so the case of the characters displayed matches what the output would be?

Google Keyboard does this and I love it.

Great work in the app, I like your vision when though I'm not a complete convert to your keyboard yet.

minuum2 karma

We already have this feature! Go to Minuum Settings -> Look and Feel to change the automatic casing of letters on the keyboard. And let me know if you manage to place your finger on what's keeping you from converting, I'll see what I can do.


redNewb1 karma

I LOVE your keyboard! A question for you that has plagued me for awhile now: with SwiftKey, only after one or two taps (or none), it guesses pretty well what you want to say next, but I would think that would be hard with Minuum because the letters are all crammed together, thus increasing the choices of what I want to type next (and therefore making it harder for the algorithm to guess?). Hope this makes sense, any input you might have would be great!

minuum1 karma

Thanks! That makes sense, and yes - it's a bit harder for us to guess what you want to type until you finish typing the word; however, we don't actually have word completion implemented at all right now (meaning that currently you have to type almost all of the letters before the word is guessed), so in the very near future you'll suddenly notice a tremendous improvement there.


redNewb1 karma

Wow, that sounds GREAT if you could implement that! Also, when you do this, will you then be able to store our typing habits/dictionary in the cloud, so when we get new phone, we can sync right back up with no worries about lost local files (dictionary, etc.) backups on our phone?

minuum1 karma

Cloud sync would be a separate feature, but yes, it's something we're hoping to work on soon. For now you can always export and re-import your data to your downloads folder in case you have to migrate to a new phone (just go to Settings->User Data). -Will

krikeydile1 karma

Just saw the video--be honest, did you dub it after you recorded the video? lol...audio is sometimes the hardest part of starting out filmmakers/videographers

minuum1 karma

:) That audio was remixed at about 4am the night before launching the video, leading to some poor mixing levels and some last-minute dubbing of a few words - we fixed all this, though, 24 hours later (after hundreds of thousands of views and much complaining from redditors) - hence our updated Youtube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niV2KCkKmRw


grubmeyer1 karma

As a long time SwiftKey user, it has come to know me pretty well. It often knows what I want to type before I begin. In the future will we see customization options similar to what's available in SK? Also, what are the possibilities of importing the SK personal dictionary? This would make the transition much easier.

I love minuum, but having to retrain all my nuances is somewhat of a nuisance.

minuum1 karma

Minuum does currently learn from the words that you type. What kind of customization options in particular are you hoping for? SK's personal dictionary is not available to us, unfortunately, so importing that dictionary isn't yet an option. -Will

swaggot171 karma

Hi, I'm a first-year student from the University of Waterloo, studying Computer Science. I have a big passion for technology and entrepreneurship, but have been struggling to get a summer co-op job. I have experience in Java, OOP, C and basic web dev. Are you hiring interns for this summer and would you be willing to review my Resume? I'd love to hear back from you.

minuum2 karma

We may be maxed out for this summer, but pass your resumé along to [email protected] and we'll see what we can do.

dclarsen1 karma

I really like the idea, and I supported the IndieGoGo campaign, but I have found that I just type faster with more traditional keyboards. What are your plans for the future?

minuum2 karma

We do find that some people encounter a few hurdles when first using the keyboard, especially if they never manage to fully get into the mindset of imagining that they're typing on a normal keyboard and just letting the disambiguation do its work. Have you tried Minuum recently? A few months ago we shifted to putting the space bar on by default, which has helped many people type faster much sooner.

I also accept that some people may never be fully convinced by the desire to save screen space on their smartphones, which is why our future plans lead more towards Minuum for smart watches: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lA6ey1SzHdM


CraigTumblison1 karma

Hey there, thanks for taking the time out of your day to answer some absurd questions from the Internet. I was an Indiegogo supporter, and continue to be an active user of the keyboard today. It's an awesome product, and I look forward to seeing what you make of it moving forward. Speaking of that..

What potential implementation of the minuum technology most excites you? We've seen demo videos of input using all sorts of creative methods (Wii remote dial-style, pointing at a screen), but which ones are you guys looking forward to the most?

minuum2 karma

While I think that typing on smart watches will have the most potential to make a big difference in the world of mobile computing devices, I'm personally most excited by the concept of having a small-as-possible finger-worn device (i.e., a ring) that uses motion-sensing technology to let you interact with anything in your life (be it your computer, TV, car, public information displays, other people's devices, etc.).

I'm also excited by the concept of enabling many different useful types of input devices, which can be ultra-personalized to each user - perhaps one person prefers a ring, while another prefers a watch, and another a crazy fabric-based piece of smart clothing.


Count_Spatula1 karma

Howdy! I like the keyboard quite a bit for how much screen space I get back. I've also been liking the incremental improvements in word guessing.

Technical question -- How do I do a double space after punctuation? I keep getting .. and !. and having to go back, delete that, and put in another space BEFORE the space that's already there. At one point there was an option to disable double space becoming a period, but that option seems to have disappeared.

Secondary question -- Anyone been playing around with Pebble (/r/Pebble) and the accelerometer?

minuum1 karma


1) That was an issue on a much older version of the keyboard - have you updated to version 2.1? Double-spacing for punctuation should be right as rain these days.

2) We've played with Pebble (and chatted with its creator, Eric), and the accelerometer is useful for typing onto a separate display (e.g. a TV), but unfortunately not really useful for typing onto the watch itself, because the watch screen moves while you wave it around. If anyone wants to try building/testing something like this for themselves, you might be able to whip something up with our SDK - just email us at [email protected] for access.


jonahbron1 karma

I use Minuum as my primary keyboard. You've successfully implemented a brilliant idea. What's next on the Minuum roadmap? New ideas?

minuum1 karma

Our major direction now is smart watches. Letting people type on wearable devices makes communication that much more immediate, and we're excited about unlocking the potential that watches have to become standard devices.

Within the Android app, we've been playing around with an interesting new direction - we're exploring how the keyboard can be more than just a keyboard, especially because we have this extra screen space to work with. We just added in an optional dictionary/thesaurus-lookup bonus panel, and are curious to see what more we can do to provide useful tools/content/functionality when you're typing... We're always open to hearing more ideas on this front, let us know if you have any thoughts on the matter!


KingPokito1 karma

why does it take so long to implement other languages?

minuum1 karma

See earlier reply: "Because Minuum relies on really good auto-correct to work our language models have to be fairly complex. So (as you probably guessed) it's not as simple as a list words and counts. As a result we need a big corpus of decent quality to generate a new language model. So far it's been challenging to find decent corpora for each new language. So that's really what limits us."

kyokeun1 karma

Are you guys bringing Korean support near future? I love the keyboard but I'm Korean and communicate sometimes in Korean. So having that option is crucial to me. Not demanding or anything, just curious

minuum1 karma

Not entirely sure yet about Korean - we've run some preliminary tests, but it will be considerably more work to fully implement than our latin-based languages.

boomHeadSh0t1 karma

Using the trial now and quite like it after the last few days. Do you have any plans for automatic spacing? Also the other difficulty I experience with your keyboard is typing things like passwords and URLs or any irregular word. I may purchase!

minuum2 karma

Automatic spacing is a more distant feature; we have more impactful auto-correction/prediction features that we'll be working on first.

The keyboard is currently to automatically switch to a full-sized keyboard for password/URL entry, to make that simpler - in general, temporarily switching to the full keyboard (by long-pressing with two fingers) can help when typing irregular words (and will still learn the words so that you can type them fast with the little keyboard next time).

Also, any time you type precisely by long-pressing on the little keyboard and using the magnified view to confirm each letter, the word won't be autocorrected (and will be learned for next time).


theCorean1 karma

Any plans on Korean support? If so, are you hiring?

minuum1 karma

We're considering it! Give us a shout at [email protected]

iamdw881 karma

will we see a dedicated numbers bar on future updates? Or an option to increase, decrease long press special character key duration?

I switch between minuum and SwiftKey quite a bit, but never feel 100% at home in minuum as yet. I am glad that certain things are being addressed as I love having so much screen real estate when using the keyboard, and my friends are always amazed at how small the keyboard is, whilst remaining (for the most part) incredibly usable!

Keep up the good work.

minuum1 karma

Are you specifically wondering if a numbers bar could be added as a bonus panel, à la our Emoji support? Because that's certainly a possibility, though we're trying to figure out how to build out our bonus panels while minimizing feature creep.

For special character key duration, are you more interested in customizing this for the full keyboard, or for the small keyboard (or both)?

Thanks! -Will

iamdw881 karma

Yes to all! Another question I have is about the emoji bar, can you decrease the size of this? Or are the emoji static in size and not scalable? As in much like the main keyboard!

How about increasing or decreasing the length of haptic feedback?

Sorry I'm just throwing stuff out there in the hope you might say yes!

JorWat1 karma

Haptic feedback length is editable. Under 'CUSTOMIZATION' in the options is 'Look & Feel'. Under 'FEEDBACK' is 'Haptic feedback'. You can edit the length of haptic feedback from 0 to 100 milliseconds.

iamdw881 karma

Really? Sorry like I said I drop in and out of keyboards as I feel like I can't fully commit to one just yet!

Is or will it ever be possible to import say dictionaries or common words from other keyboards? Although I assume that this may be something that might not be possible due to the way each dev stores this data?

minuum1 karma

Emoji bar height sizing is something we don't have yet, but I'll think about. We already do have an option to important words from the stock Google Keyboard, but unfortunately other third-party keyboards tend to be a bit more closed about their data storage.


sandmansandine1 karma

Have you guys thought of adding in Gmail/SMS/Facebook integrations for predictive text. I think that's one of the killer features I would love.

BTW met you guys at ycomb a few weeks ago and started using the keyboard, I love it.

minuum2 karma

Hey, great to hear! And yes, we're expecting to having those integrations to help round out your personal language model - no fixed timeframe on that yet, though.


captnjak1 karma

The point is minimalism, however this app seems to take up a ton of memory. Plans to limit this? Love the keyboard but hate how slow it can cause apps to pull up the keyboard.

minuum1 karma

Our memory usage definitely could stand to be optimized - we're looking into now, especially after introducing enough languages that enabling them all simultaneously (especially with Turbo mode on) can be quite a load on any device.

Point taken about the lack of minimalism there ;)


vanberge1 karma

Can we get minuum merch anywhere? I'd throw down for a sticker/shirt.

minuum1 karma

We're looking into setting up a quick online shop, will announce that on our mailing list if/when that goes live :)


tyhntyhn1 karma

Hey man, do you know when Minuum will support Danish? I've been waiting so long, hoping it would be available in the beta (I donated money for the crowdfunding). I tried it out with English, and it works amazingly well, but I'd love to see it for my native language one day. Take care!

minuum2 karma

Thanks for the support! As I've mentioned above, Danish is a bit farther out that some other languages that have come up here, but we'll get to it eventually (hopefully over the course of the next few months).


tabrizz1 karma

I forgot to ask if miniuum will get a way to add themes made by the company or users

minuum1 karma

Made by the company: definitely.

Made by the users: we'll have to see how that would work out - let me know if you have a sense of what level of control you'd expect users to have.


ShotFromGuns1 karma

What are the odds of getting more granular control over the gesture settings?

I really love Minuum... except that I find myself frequently cycling between keyboards without meaning to (typing in a way that Minuum interprets as a downswipe). I would LOVE to be able to turn that gesture, and only that gesture, off. (I want the other gestures enabled, and I don't want a spacebar.)

minuum2 karma

What device are you using? We're currently working on tuning these gestures, and I'd love to know which devices have it worst at the moment.


askeeve1 karma

How much testing have you done with Minuum on a smaller display (like a smartwatch)? It seems like a lot of how Minuum functions is by looking at the whether you're typing left or right of your previous character and a small screen would make that distinction even smaller and harder to accurately interpret.

minuum2 karma

We've tested quite extensively - I wear a Samsung Galaxy Gear most days, and type notes into it often just to test. Believe me, we were shocked ourselves to feel how incredibly it works on such a tiny screen.

My hypothesis for why it works: when you're using a small screen, your finger doesn't have to move as far, so you can effectively move your finger more slowly but type at the same overall speed. When moving your finger more slowly, you're less prone to making mistakes, so it balances out in the end.

This only falls short if you introduce significant noise into the system; so typing while driving on a very bumpy road might throw you off a bit too much (but you'd expect the same of smartphones, too).


BigBassBone1 karma

Can you add an ellipsis to Minuum? Of you did, I'd be so happy. Also, auto correct in the full keyboard.

minuum1 karma

If we were to make your punctuation row customizable, where would you choose to place the ellipsis? -Will

kornykory1 karma

Why did you decide to go with indiegogo rather than kickstarter? I feel like kickstarter was more widely known...

(Funded you anyway on indiegogo)

minuum2 karma

Two reasons: 1) At the time, Kickstarter was not available in Canada (we're Canadian) 2) Kickstarter has very specific rules about software - we wouldn't have been allowed to post the project on Kickstarter unless we went completely open source (which is not out of the question, by the way - just not something we'll be doing in the near-term)