Exploring Keyboard Apps For Android Devices
One of the great things about the Android platform is its flexibility. And this is quite evident when we talk about virtual keyboards -- you can easily replace the default keyboard on your Android smartphone or tablet with a new one, with a different look and with features that you just might find useful, or cute.
But what are the available virtual keyboards out there that you can use for your Android handset? Here is a rundown.
Google Keyboard (free download)
As expected from anything made by Google, the Google Keyboard has some pretty nifty features, including support for tracing words, speech-to-text capabilities, a dictionary that meshes with your preferred word choices, and even predictive text. Plus, you get lots of customization options like themes, layouts, sounds, vibration, and auto-correction. The Google Keyboard can run on any mobile device with Android 4.0 and above.
Fleksy (free 30-day trial)
Fleksy is designed to facilitate easy, quick, and accurate typing. In terms of looks, this virtual keyboard goes for a simple, minimal approach. But don't let that piece of information fool you -- Fleksy has over two dozen skin designs, as well as 800 plus emojis, gestures, more than 40 languages, and transparency capabilities. Moreover, Fleksy supports GIFs, making your keyboard sport cute animations. Lastly, its lets you shift from one app to another without leaving the keyboard.
SwiftKey (free download)
One of the first (and most familiar) virtual keyboards out there, SwiftKey comes with loads of features that include theme selections, layout designs, auto-correct capabilities, emojis, and predictive text, just to name a few. This virtual keyboard can tie into your multiple cloud accounts (Gmail, Facebook, Twitter) in order to anticipate what you are going to compose. For good measure, SwiftKey also has a Trending Phrases feature that, yes, keeps you up with the latest and coolest phrases.
Swype (free 30-day trial)
It may be old (relatively), but Swype still rocks. This virtual keyboard is the first to make full use of swiping gestures for mobile typing. And with Nuance and Dragon dictation, Swype still ranks among the best when it comes to voice-to-text capabilities.
Minuum uses a text prediction algorithm that appears to determine accurately what you are trying to type next. And having a toggle that allows users to easily enable or disable auto-correction certainly doesn't hurt. Similar to other virtual keyboards, Minuum supports many layout designs and language configurations, as well as almost 900 emojis, thesaurus quick access, Google search, and of course, the dictionary.
Other virtual keyboards worth mentioning are the freely available Go Keyboard (with over 10,000 theme designs and still growing), and ai.type, which is considered one of the most personalized virtual keyboards existing today on account of its ultra-wide range of customization options.