A couple of months ago, an interesting project appeared on Indiegogo promising a new take on touchscreen keyboards: Minuum. While other keyboards were losing screen estate by adding more functions and buttons, or were trying to revolutionize input by changing the QWERTY input method, Minuum took a more simplistic and minimalist approach. It kept the QWERTY arrangement that everyone is used to, but squished it in height and used smart predictions to correctly insert words despite the lack of precision typing.
Given that my biggest gripe with onscreen keyboards is that they block most of the phone’s screen estate, I liked the premise of Minuum and decided to pledge for it. The first beta was made available a few weeks ago and I’ve been using it on and off ever since. In the following article, I’ll look at the most important questions I asked myself about Minuum before I tried it and answer them for you. Now that you can all buy Minuum for $3.99 in the Play Store, it’s crucial to know whether it’s worth the financial — and learning curve — investment or not.
Spend any time using your phone or tablet and it’s hard to avoid using the keyboard. Whether knocking out a quick email or typing URLs into your browser, there’s a limit to what you can get done without having to type. And chances are that the keyboard baked into your copy of Android is nothing to write home about — there are few stock keyboards that really cut the mustard.
Sitting at my desktop or using my laptop, I’m a fairly accomplished typist — I’m probably not the fastest in the world, but I’m certainly faster than average. The same cannot really be said when I’m using my Android devices — touchscreens offer a completely different way of interacting with a device and it proves, on the most part, to be a slower form of typing. This is why I find myself on a constant mission to track down the perfect keyboard. If you’re on a similar quest, and whatever your preferred style of typing — one-handed, two-handed, gesture input, just a forefinger — this roundup of the pick of the crop should help you find a keyboard that suits you.
On our Android devices we use our keyboards an awful lot. Whether it be to send an email or comment on a forum, we resort to the same keyboard to type everything out — this makes it quite an important part of the device. Developers have realised this and developed applications that give you a different form to type on. However, the developers of Ginger have taken this an extra step further.
In their keyboard design resides a built-in grammar checker that makes sure that all typos and mistakes are picked up before you finish typing. The app saves time by giving you the ability to quickly proof-read text without the need to do too much. For users who are constantly sending messages and emailing, Ginger avoids embarrassing mistakes. Read on to find out how it works.
Earlier this year, Blackberry finally unveiled its new and re-written Operating System: Blackberry 10. After many years of being stuck behind the curve on touch-centric platforms and modern interfaces, Blackberry 10 promised a fresh look and, most importantly, several innovations that would carry it forward and help it keep the Blackberry-fanatics satisfied while also trying to bring some new converts over.
Along with the new platform, Blackberry announced two new devices: the touch-only Z10 that started shipping a while ago and the traditional keyboard Q10 that’s just starting to ship. I’ve had a Z10 in my hands for several weeks now, enough to get used to the platform and the device and to form my own opinion from extended use. As a Blackberry novice — I had never even tried a Blackberry device before — I’m impressed by what I’ve seen, enough to make me step away from my trusted Galaxy S3. Normally, when I get new devices, I try them for a while, feel excited for a bit, then move back to the S3, but that isn’t the case with the Z10. I’ve come to find several features that keep me going back to it. Read on to find out what they are.
It seems like every week a new contender stands up in an attempt to dethrone the two kings of the Android keyboard hill, Swype and Swiftkey. Given the sheer number of keyboards available, it’s hard to imagine what new apps can do to differentiate themselves – and yet there are many that stand up to the challenge.
One such recent entrant into the arena is Siine Keyboard. Rather than focusing on the usual word completion or prediction features, though, Siine focuses on helping you type entire phrases with just a few taps. If you find yourself typing similar words or phrases again and again – greetings, quick questions, and so on – Siine might be just right for you… as long as you’re not keen on doing a lot of regular typing. Let’s take a look.
Ever been frustrated at a laggy virtual keyboard? Thanks to years of experience with hardware keyboards, my typing fingers are blazing fast, and many on-screen keyboards just can’t keep up. On top of that, the stock keyboard is pretty bland, and the auto-correct isn’t so correct! I’m sure I’m not the only one: I wanted to say something, the built-in guess was terrible, and without a thought I sent that text. Whoops.
But there are a lot of keyboards out there, and maybe you’ve used so many different ones that the perfect match feels as evasive as a unicorn.
In that case, rejoice! SwiftKey X has been revamped and is here to ease your texting, tweeting, emailing and posting troubles. Available for handset and tablet, it works with a library of your previous input – based on your texts and emails – so that it can guess your next word.
And believe me, this thing does its homework…
I expect you’ve seen DamnYouAutoCorrect before. (NSFW, in case you haven’t.) Screenshot after screenshot of embarrassing typos, all due to the auto-correct feature on the phone’s keyboard.
But why are most of the screenshots taken on iPhones?
Maybe the iPhone’s auto-correct is more prone to errors. Or mabye Android users don’t know how to take screenshots. Maybe Android users make even more typing mistakes than iPhone users, but they’re not usually very funny.
Personally, I find that I almost never make a mitsake when using the Gingerbread keyboard – or, at least, I never make a mistake that gets through to the other person. (I quite often hit “L” when I mean to hit backspace, though.) My iPhone-owning friends have told me that they often make errors because they don’t actually look at their messages before they hit Send. I guess they’re really in a hurry?
We do have a wealth of keyboards to choose from on Android, though I’m not sure whether that helps or hinders – I went through a period where I switched keyboard every few weeks, just after I’d got used to each, and that can’t have been good for my efficiency.
I’d like to know about your experiences here. Do you make a lot of mistakes? If so, are they with the stock keyboard, a hardware keyboard, or some special app? Vote in the poll and comment below to let us know!
There are many different Android Tablets on the market today, and it may seem hard to decide which one suits your needs the best. Most of these tablets are very expensive, which makes shopping for one slightly difficult. ASUS wants to change all of that, with their new tablet, the Eee Pad Transformer. What’s special about this tablet, aside from the detachable keyboard dock, is the price. The Transformer is available for $399.99 for the 16GB WiFi model, and $499.99 for the 32GB WiFi model.
The detachable keyboard is what truly sets the Transformer apart from the other tablets. The dock will set you back an extra $150, but when you learn all of the features, it’s well worth it. Not only does the keyboard make typing a breeze, but it also houses a second battery, which can essentially double the battery life of the tablet. I picked one up a few weeks ago, read on to see my full review of the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer.
Why Are We Still Using Hardware Keyboards? Of course, when asking that question here, i’m referring to the little keys that reside underneath certain phone’s screens – certain phones like those in RIM’s line. RIM’s future doesn’t look that good, especially with the growth in Android and iOS devices that opt for a large touchscreen in lieu of some small, tacky keys.
However, HTC took a U-turn and created the HTC ChaCha (or “the Facebook phone”, as some call it). The ChaCha is an Android 2.3.3 device that comes complete with QWERTY keyboard and dedicated Facebook buttons, even though it also features the common capacitive navigation buttons below the screen.
Is a hardware keyboard worth the cost of a smaller screen size? And why would you not just stick with the now-standard touch interface? Let’s discuss. (more…)
Android has thousands of brilliant apps for all sorts of different uses, from apps to find where you parked your car, to apps for your personal trainers. One set of apps that many people over look though, is possibly the most used application on their phone: their keyboard.
While many of the different keyboards are similar, an app used as much as this needs to be suited as much as possible to your typing style. Finding the best keyboard could save you a lot of time, as well as embarrassing errors in your text!
How to change your keyboard
To change your keyboard after installing a new one, go to settings > Language and Keyboard, and then check your desired keyboard to enable it to be used.
Once you have any desired keyboards selected, you can then choose it as your default keyboard for input, you can also choose what keyboard to use whenever you’re writing by pressing and holding your finger on the text box for a few seconds.
Now that you know how to switch keyboards, read on to find out which to try out…