Using keyboards on Android devices, especially phones, can be a problem for many. Virtual keys are small and hard to hit precisely and we all know the frustration of typing a text message only to look up and see that someone (not me!) has been typing all sorts of gibberish – which is even more embarrassing if we forget to check first before sending.
I’ve tried many variants on the ‘Swype’ keyboard style (who created the first of this kind of keyboard), including SwiftKey and SlideIt, some came pre installed on phones I bought while others I downloaded.
Trust Google to come up with their own and make a great job of it as well – Google keyboard is now my keyboard of choice and it’s installed on all my devices. Honestly, once you have entered a few sentences using the ‘Swype-style’ method, it’s hard to go back to the old ‘hunt and peck’ way.
To enter words you simply trace out the letters on the keyboard and you will see a blue line following your finger as you do. When you release your finger after each word the keyboard displays in the centre the word it believes you want plus a couple others either side that you can choose instead. You can check you have the right word and make a correction if you need to, otherwise you just carry on and the word is entered for you. Once you get the hang of the process it’s surprising how quickly you can ‘type’ sentences. This makes writing much easier on a tablet too and may even remove the need for a separate USB or wireless keyboard if you need to use one for entering large amounts of text.
Granted, it can take time to get used to this method, in my case I found that as long as I planned ahead where my finger had to trace for longer words, I was fine. If I forgot to do this I sometimes ‘got lost’ where I had to go next which did give me some interesting results. I got the hang of it though, and can now fly around the virtual keyboard not even worrying if I am exactly over the keys I want because Google Keyboard figures out correctly what I need to spell.
You will need to be running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or later to be able to install this, but if you can and using the standard Android keyboard on your phone or tablet is causing you some grief, download the app and see if it suits you. Note that unlike most apps, installing a new Android keyboard needs a couple more steps. Here’s how to do it:
After installing the app, open Settings and choose Language and input.
Tap on the select box next to Google Keyboard to make it active.
Now, tap on Default and select Google Keyboard and save.
Let us know what you think and if you have any suggestions for the best one to use for pre version 4.0 devices.
Price : FREE
Size : 14.0Mb
Needs : Android 4.0+