The beauty of Android is that it's so customisable, and Android keyboards are no exception. There are keyboards available for every kind of typist, whether you prefer to hunt-and-peck, turn your phone sideways and use both thumbs, or swipe across the screen with one finger. This week we're highlighting five of the best Android keyboards, based on your nominations.
We've already shown you our favourite Android keyboards, and now it's time to check out yours. Here they are:
The Hacker's Keyboard brings a full keyboard experience to your Android phone, complete with all of the keys you're probably missing from your current Android keyboard. We're not kidding — the Hacker's Keyboard has arrow keys, shift keys, an escape key, just as you'd get with a physical keyboard attached to a computer. We've mentioned it before, and many of you praised the Hacker's Keyboard for being completely open source, totally free, and available with tons of language and character packs that let you type in your own language on any Android device. If you use your device to connect to another system, either via remote desktop or SSH, those extra keys are especially handy.
Swype allows you to type words by drawing a connecting line between the letters of the word across your keyboard. Sure, you can hunt and peck individual keys, but the real beauty of Swype is that you can "swipe" your finger from key to key to draw words, making it easy and fast to type out entire sentences. Swype was recently acquired by Nuance, the makers of Dragon Dictation and Naturally Speaking, and the most recent Swype updates show that Nuance is bringing Dragon-powered speech to text to the app. That's a neat addition to the predictive typing that guesses the word as you type it, autocorrect, personal custom dictionaries, and other great features that make it innovative — and one of our favourite keyboards.
Smart Keyboard Pro will set you back around $2.50, but if you're a tap-typist, it'll change your typing experience. You can customise almost everything about the keyboard, including the spacing between keys, the text size on the keys, and the use of T-9 layouts. The keyboard also supports text prediction and lets you add your own shortcuts. Plus, you can add your own skins and language packs to Smart Keyboard Pro so you can customise it to your language and location.
SwiftKey made waves for being one of the first Android keyboards to really embrace predictive text. Not only is SwiftKey able to correct your typing and guess what you meant to say even if you wind up typing gibberish, SwiftKey can scan your emails, Facebook posts, Twitter posts, SMS messages, and other content to learn how you type and who you regularly speak to. All of that knowledge goes into its incredible predictive text engine. Available for phones and tablets with custom keyboards for each, SwiftKey is regularly updated with great features, incredibly powerful, and well worth the money.
Android Stock Keyboard
Many of you pointed out that you didn't need a fancy alternative keyboard for your Android device. The stock keyboard, whether you're running Gingerbread or Ice Cream Sandwich, works just fine for you. Sure, it doesn't have fancy predictive text or offline voice (although they're both coming in Android Jelly Bean), but it works well, supports basic speech-to-text, and gets the job done.
Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your favourite keyboard, even if it wasn't included in the list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.