One of the main reasons people choose an Android smartphone is because of the openness of the system. Don’t like the layout your phone uses? Change it, Google isn’t going to stop you. One of the most common things people change on their device is what keyboard they’re using. There’s a number of options available, the problem being which is best.
Here are four great keyboards that you can install on your Android device.
Traditional mobile keyboards utilize the thumbs to tap the letters. With Swype, you do use your thumb, but instead of tapping you trace the word you want to spell on the keyboard. If you want to spell the word ‘Hello’, for example, you place your thumb on ‘H’ and trace it over to ‘E’ then ‘L’ then to ‘O’.
With practice, you can quickly type out full sentences with one finger, and this is as fast, or faster than typing on a normal keyboard. Swype is currently in Beta (pre-release testing) and is therefore free, however you will have to download it from the website as it’s not on Google Play. If you’re looking for a keyboard to use with one hand, Swype is the best choice.
SwiftKey is all about making predictions. It won’t tell you next week’s winning lottery numbers, but it will try to guess what you’re trying to say and either correct the word or provide the next word in the sentence. You can also sync the keyboard with Facebook, Twitter, SMS and Gmail where it will learn your typing style. With syncing on, it can be eerie at how accurate it is. Beyond that, it supports 42 languages, with up to three active at once. Just start typing and it will figure out what language you’re using.
SwiftKey is available on Google Play for around 3-4 USD and is a great keyboard for users who speak more than one language and/or want to have a predictive keyboard.
Android Stock Keyboard
Each version of Android has its own stock keyboard (the keyboard that comes installed on the phone) and some manufacturers also offer their own keyboard. These keyboards are generally good, albeit a little plain. If all you’re looking for is a keyboard to type messages and don’t need any extra features, these keyboards are perfectly adequate.
On the other end of the spectrum is Hacker’s Keyboard, a full keyboard complete with keys other mobile keyboards are missing. If you use your device to remotely connect to the office, this is the keyboard for you, as you’ll be better able to navigate non mobile apps. This keyboard is open source, which means it’s free and has a high level of support.
These keyboards should have you typing anyway you want. To find the best for you, you might want to try all of them. What keyboard do you use on your Android device? Let us know.