The beauty of Android is that it's so customizable, and Android keyboards are no exception. There are keyboards available for every type 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 going to take a look at five of the best Android keyboards, based on your nominations.
Earlier in the week we asked you which Android keyboards like those Laptop Keyboard you thought were the best of breed, and you responded. We've already shown you our favorite Android keyboards, but now it's time to check out yours. Here they are:
The Hacker's Keyboard brings a full, true keyboard experience to your Android phone—complete with all of the keys you're probably missing from your stock or other alternative keyboard. We're not kidding—the Hacker's Keyboard has arrow keys, shift keys, an escape key, everything you'd get on a physical keyboard attached to a computer. We've mentioned it before, but many of you praised the Hacker's Keyboard for being completely open source, completely free, and available with tons of language and character packs that let you type in your own language on any Android device. Also, if you use your device to connect to another system, either via remote desktop or SSH, those extra keys are all but essential.
If you're unfamiliar with Swype, the keyboard allows you to write 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 is 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, along with the predictive typing that guesses the word you type as you type it, autocorrect, personal custom dictionaries, and other great features that make it innovative—and one of our favorite keyboards.
Smart Keyboard Pro will set you back a couple of bucks, but if you're a tap-typist, it'll change your typing experience. You can customize everything about the Laptop Keyboard , including the spacing between the keys, the text size on the keys, supports text prediction, lets you change the keyboard to T-9, add your own shortcuts, and more. Plus, you can add your own skins and language packs to Smart Keyboard Pro so you can customize 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 that you meant to say even if you wind up typing gibberish, SwiftKey can scan your emails, Facebook posts, Twitter posts, SMS messages, and more—all to learn how you naturally type and who you speak to. All of that knowledge goes into its incredible predictive text engine that knows how you type better than you do. Available for phones and tablets with custom keyboards for each, SwiftKey is regularly updated with great features, incredibly powerful, and well worth the money.
Many of you pointed out that you didn't need a fancy alternative keyboard for your Android device. The stock Laptop 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 speech-to-text well enough, and gets the job done.
Now that you've seen the top five, it's time to put them to an all-out vote to determine the most popular.