Rectangular keyboards reign supreme, but there are a number of alternatives available that purportedly offer better ergonomics. Some of them feature rather minor tweaks, like the curvy Microsoft Natural keyboard, and others are downright funky (we're looking at you, Maltron). Could the same principle be applied to virtual planks on smartphones? Microsoft may be getting ready to answer that question with Windows Phone 8.
A leaked Microsoft Research presentation landed at WMPoweruser.com, which uploaded a pic showing a curved virtual keyboard designed for one-handed thumb typing. Many of the keys are clumped together with three or four characters, similar to a T9 layout, but with a QWERTY configuration.
The picture shows the keyboard on an HTC Trophy smartphone, so there's a chance this could also be rolled out with Windows Phone 7.8, not just Windows Phone 8, assuming Microsoft forges ahead with it in the first place.