Microsoft rolls Hub Keyboard for iOS out of the Garage

Microsoft seems to be doing more development of apps for iOS than Apple does. The latest is from Microsoft Garage, a team that produces apps that are designed to push the envelope a bit in terms of UI or functionality. The free Hub Keyboard adds a row of buttons to a traditional iOS keyboard that can perform all sorts of productivity-enhancing tasks. 

While some early users are reporting issues with the app, the concept is quite attractive. With a tap, Hub Keyboard makes it easy to pull up documents and contacts from other apps without having to switch between apps. Hub Keyboard also makes it simple to paste in the last text you copied. 

The best way of describing the Hub Keyboard came from the guy who thought it up -- Steve Won, a senior designer on the Microsoft Office team. “I may be in a text message conversation, then have to jump to contacts for a phone number,” Won says. “Rather than forcing users to switch between apps, we bring those apps to them.”

Hub Keyboard first shipped for Android and just came out for iOS yesterday.