My apologies if this is not the correct place for this...

Here's an idea for typing on touchscreens which are soon to be a common feature of netbooks and other mobile devices.

Instead of displacing another window with a 'keypad' window and reducing the available screen area, how about a transparent window on top of the application that the text is being put into. If the level of transparency can be controlled (and perhaps the color of the window) it would be like looking through the keypad at the application. Kind of like looking through a heads-up display in a fighter jet. It might be called a 't-pad'.

A small box in the upper right next to the minimize button could toggle between inputing the text or clicking on the main application while leaving the keypad visible (It would turn on/off the 't-pad' kind of like a num lock key). It might also reduce the transparency so the keypad is barely visible when not actrive. Also, the 'ctrl' or the super-key might perform the same function on a momentary basis.

Since this keypad will not be used with full fingertips but with fingernails or a stylus, the size of the keys can be reduced or perhaps the upper and lower case keys could be the top and bottom half of each key (no using caps lock or shift key required).

Now lets go way out there in terms of ideas. What if we could switch between keypad layouts. Not just 'qwerty' or 'dvorak' but something that has nothing to do with the way a hand works but is designed to optimise the way a stylus moves in someones hand. I imagine the keys laid out in concentric circles with the most commonly used keys toward the center and the lesser used ones toward the edge. The very center could be divided into segments that would be used as funtions keys that could toggle to other character sets, numbers, numerical functions or even smiley faces.

What about dual keypads on each half of the screen for two handed inputting. Okay maybe that's going a little too far, but this is the perfect moment in time for a new paradigm of inputing data.

Does anyone else see the potential here?