In Lebanon, there are only 2 mobile telecom companies, Alfa and Touch, which are both private but strictly regulated (and protected) by the government. It is some sort of untouchable Oligopoly where price-competition is nonexistent. However, and fortunately for consumers, telecom companies can compete on another level: the service. Advertising is key for these companies who end up coming up with creative solutions to gain customers. From seasonal/themed campaigns, targeted packages, or even web-series, the telecom battle keeps on surprising us.
Touch's latest marketing effort is an app called LebKeys that allows users to add a Latin Arabic keyboard on their smartphones. I think it’s smart from Touch to make this app available to all users, whether they are their clients or their competitor’s. It won’t make Alfa users switch, but it sure has a chance to influence them in case of future purchase.
I can’t remember the last time I downloaded an app on my iPhone and kept it more than a couple of days, mainly because most of my memory is used by music. The rest is divided in 3: books, pictures, and apps. For apps, the majority of them are social networks, and the rest is news and 3 games. So basically, if I don’t really like the app, I tend to delete it right away.
I downloaded LebKeys on Friday and I haven’t deleted it yet. I guess that’s a good sign. I'm definitely not using it more than the French or English keyboards because I rarely text in Arabic. However, when I am texting in Arabic, this keyboard is quite practical. No more need to switch to numbers every time I want to write “7ellé 3anné” for example ;]. In addition, I feel so relieved that the “é” is there. I thought I was the only one using it, and now at least, I have a defense method when I get called “fghenchie” for typing “é” instead of “eh” at the end of a word. So yeah, thanks to the people who put that “é” on the keyboard (I bet they’re frenchies :P).
On the other side, something primordial is missing to this app: auto-correct and predictive completion of words. My English keyboard for example predicts around 30% of what I type in Arabic even though the words don’t exist in the dictionary. This app would’ve been much more practical if it had that option and I hope there will be an update soon enough, before I get bored :P.
So if you type in Latin Arabic and you're interested to try this app, just search for LebKeys on the AppStore and download it for free on your smartphone (works on iOS and Android).