First Look: Keymote – Never Remember a Shortcut Again [Updated]

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Everyone has had experience with keyboard shortcuts, and just as many people have had trouble remembering them. You know, the key-combinations that make everything easier and quicker? Yeah, sometimes they can get pretty confusing. Keymote is an application that helps out by creating a virtual keypad (called a “Keyset”) that puts all of your most important shortcuts just a tap away.

By connecting to any Mac via WiFi running the Keymote Reciever software, I see Keymote as an extension to my physical keyboard, expediting my workflow by virtually eliminating the need to memorize (or physically execute) painstaking keyboard shortcuts. This has essentially streamlined my entire workflow threefold, allowing me to flick a finger over to my iDevice and tap a single virtual button instead of twisting my fingers around my Mac’s keyboard and even needing to use two hands for some more elabourate shortcuts.

I’ve been with Keymote since the first beta, and I can say, without bias, that I am quite impressed with the progress that the developers, dubbed Iced Cocoa, have made. The first beta was visually acceptable, but I was floored with the advancements made in that field alone. Not only that, but there were many bugfixes released with each beta, as well as suggested features and even small visual tweaks that make the experience all the better. The developers have touched all the bases, including little polished features such as the ability to use black keys instead of white, for those of you with a Macbook (so that, sitting next to your black keyboard, it fits in as a visual as well as functional extension).

There is also the ability to turn off “Auto-Lock,” so that the application can remain untouched next to your keyboard for hours on end without your iDevice locking up on you. This is especially beneficial to those of us who have our device plugged in constantly, so it won’t drain any battery.

Due to the responsiveness and activity of the developers throughout the length of the beta, I have no doubt that, if any bugs or anything of the like surface, they will be promptly fixed. I have faith that they will maintain this application until it can be called perfect.

On the “Keysets” page of the application, you are presented with a quick look of the titles of the keysets (organized either alphabetically, by last opened, or by categories), as well as a count of all the shortcuts contained in said keyset. It’s a very simplistic, visually appealing way of organizing the data.

Creating a keyset is as simple as knowing the shortcuts (or just looking them up). You click a “+” button in the corner of the “Keysets” tab, and you’re already halfway there. Type in the name, pick a category, and it’s created. All that’s left is to go in and add all the shortcuts.

Once you’ve created some shortcuts, you can simply hold a finger on one for a few seconds to reorganize, delete, or edit the shortcuts in the keyset. To further extend organization, you are given the capability to add spacers. Spacers are visually appealing grids of dots that serve no functionality other than to… Well, be a spacer. It may sound unnecessary, but when spacers were added to the beta, I had a field day, making tons of nicely organized shortcuts (including an iTunes keyset that resembles the Apple Remote that comes with most Macs). With keysets, organization is key. Anything that will make it feel natural, look visually appealing, and be easy to build into muscle memory, will make your keyset fail or flourish.

But, where COULD it fail or flourish? Have I mentioned the “Store”?

The Store is my absolute favourite part of Keymote. Hands down. Although the title may be misleading, everything in it is free of charge, and the contents therein will extend the capability of the app further than you can imagine. You’ve probably guessed it by now. Users can create and upload any keyset into the Store, allowing for instant download from anybody else using the application.

This adds a whole new element — a community-based, user-driven element — to the application that makes it more worth your time than anything. If you need a keyset for Firefox, just go to the Store and search; there will be one. It takes roughly a second to download and install, and you’ve instantly got access to all sorts of shortcuts that were previously unknown to you. And seeing as it’s all instant and fits seamlessly into the application, you can’t go wrong here.

Your uploaded keysets will be paired with a username of your choice, and thrown into the category you chose when creating the keyset. There are various sections of the store, such as “Staff Picks,” and “What’s Hot,” that allow you to browse keysets in ways other than the traditional categories. All these choices and selections add for a personalized browsing experience, and I’ve always been satisfied with everything about the store.

Organization also goes into your personal keyset collection. I, personally, have only roughly 15 keysets installed, so scrolling through to browse is no problem, but if you’ve got an extensive collection, a search bar is provided at the top of the page to allow you to quickly pinpoint the keyset for the application you’re in.

The developers continue on to go even one step further, allowing you to set keysets as a favourite. Doing so makes it show up on your Favourites tab, set apart from the rest and easily accessable.

Everything in this program is simple. The design, albeit incredibly visually appealing, is simple. Creating/editing keysets is simple. The store is incredibly streamlined and simple. And, best of all, the execution is simple.

If you’ve got a Mac, this is a positively indispensable application that will add more functionality to your work flow than anything I can imagine. Iced Cocoa says that the price tag will be $3.99 when the application hits the store, and it was just submitted recently, so this may take a bit.

For now, get hyped; this application is worth your time.

Developer Info

Iced Cocoa

KeymoteApp on Twitter:

Current Status: Highly Recommended

Reviewed at: v0.6
Reviewed on Firmware: 3.0
Download size: 2.2MB
Released on: 15th Aug 09
Retails for: £2.43 / $3.99

Compatible with: iPod touch Gen 1 & 2 / iPhone Classic / iPhone 3G / iPhone 3GS