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Do the Chinese Smart phone keyboard need a lot of keys on their keyboard compared to the simple generic iOS keyboard that we see currently?

(iOS has less keys and its simple to look at. Compare it to any Chinese keyboard and you get a massive difference!)

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

No, Chinese keyboards usually have the same amount or fewer keys depending on the keyboard type they use.

iOS 7 lists 6 Chinese keyboard types, 3 of which can also be used in Simplified mode:

  • Handwriting: user draws a stroke or character from which the computer recommends autocomplete options
  • Stroke: user selects from a small set of character categories (around 10, including vertical, horizontal, &c), after which characters can be further specified
  • Pinyin
  • Cangjie
  • Sucheng
  • Zhuyin

The other keyboard options are likely phonetic. The Japanese keyboard similarly uses simplified sound characters to further select the kanji. This is a bit different because these phonetic characters are part of two additional alphabets used in Japan: Hiragana and Katakana. They also use the Roman alphabet.

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1. Cangjie IME and Sucheng (Simplified Cangjie) categorize characters based on shapes. 2. iOS 7 now support Chinese handwriting with multiple characters inputted simultaneously. 3. Voice input is also feasible. –  Ivan Chau Nov 15 '13 at 9:21
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