soft key

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soft key

(1) A simulated button or keyboard key that is displayed on a touchscreen. Also called a "soft button," "virtual button" or "virtual key," touchscreen soft keys enable smartphones, tablets and remote controls to display any style of user interface. However, they have not entirely made real keys obsolete. A few physical buttons can greatly enhance a touch user interface. See touchscreen and virtual keyboard.

(2) A physical button that serves multiple functions on cellphones and other devices. The button is located next to the screen, which displays the key's purpose at that moment. See virtual keyboard.

A Soft Key
In this example, the same physical key on this earlier cellphone is used to make and terminate a call. After the call is connected, the soft key changes from Call to End.

Soft Keys at the Gas Pump
A common use is at the gas pump when a response is required. The screen asks the user if a receipt should be printed and displays Yes or No next to the appropriate soft keys (arrows).
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References in periodicals archive ?
From the softkey menu, you have access to an impressive wireless entertainment interface that's driven by a Bluetooth smartphone or tablet.
TOSIBOX SoftKey is a software-based Sub Key that works without the actual TOSIBOX Key device.
[CD-ROM Version 1.0.] Compton Home Library; Softkey Multimedia Inc.
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The company supplies public transport operators with a wide range of solutions such as on-board computers and servers; ticket printers; information terminals; mobile and stationary ticket vendors with keyboard, softkey or touch screen; chip card terminals and hybrid terminals; validators; pre-sales systems and hand-held sales units.
Interfax also cited IBS Group's CEO Anatoly Karachinsky as saying that the company could sell its internet store Softkey by the end of 2012.
With a push of the i5000's softkey, users switch between line-locating and marker-detection modes.
Product enhancements include auto/manual control via SoftKey, event logging with date-time stamp and statistical analysis of switch functions.