A keyboard on your smartphone – well, it isn’t even worth trying to explain how important it is. Unless you’re playing a game, pretty much everything requires you to use the keyboard. Yes, even on Tinder you have to type that witty bio first, right? Yet, a vast majority of smartphone users are pretty content with the standard keyboards, enabled by default. Well, leaving the satisfied noobs behind, all the keyboard ninjas will be happy to know that we’ve compiled a list of amazing keyboards that will change the way you type. And you, content guy, you might want to listen too for a few useful tips.
Kii Keyboard 2 (Early Access)
Kii is a keyboard that puts customisation in your hands. Along with the standard bells and whistles that come with most third party keyboard apps these days, Kii offers a greater level of control over the most basic stuff like dimensions and delays. For instance, in the appearance tab, you can tweak the theme with basic color changes or go for a full fledged designer theme. You can add color hints to key-blocks, use custom fonts, and set different colors for alternative characters. And that’s just the appearance tab.
There’s a similar level of control available over gesture typing, text corrections and even an advanced section where you can play around with the key preview animation at a level of great detail. You can also split the keyboard into two parts – a feature that is very useful for tablet users. Additionally, there are a number of addons that you can install from Play Store that add everything from emojis, new features to new languages to the Kii Keyboard. Overall, Kii can let you customise your dream keyboard if you know what you’re playing around with.
If detailed tweaking is not your game, yet you seek a keyboard that is unique and can be played around with – try Fleksy. The once premium keyboard app is now free on the Play Store and offers some very easy-to-use but useful features. It has a basic set of gestures like Swipe-left to delete a word, Swipe-up to undo auto-correction, and swipe again to add word to dictionary and more. The theme’s are quite nice and keep in mind the overall aesthetic of the keyboard. A particular favorite is the Chameleon theme that changes colors depending on the app being used.
The standout feature in the app, which is also its biggest problem, are the Extensions. The tab allows you to choose four out of twelve options, where each of these options is a feature, like Highlights for emojis, GIFs, stickers; a permanent number row on top; app launcher, hotkeys, invisible keyboard etc. The catch is that to use more than four feature you have add slots, which come as in-app payments. As a sidenote, the invisible keyboard is a great party trick. Enabling it will make your keyboard go invisible, with highly translucent highlights showing you the locations of the space bar and few other keys.
Pro-Tip: You can also enable a handy set of gestures for your standard Google keyboard Gboard. Go to Settings>Additional Settings>Language and Input>Gboard>Glide Typing. You can also tweak a lot of settings from the keyboard settings for Gboard.
Sometimes, basic customisations are just child’s play and you’re in for something more serious and reliable. Swiftkey is not a new name when it comes to keyboards and it has only improved its capabilities. The keyboard now boasts of neural network technology for predictions. Essentially, this means that the keyboard takes into account the entire context of what you are speaking to generate its predictions. This results in more accurate predictions overall. Along with themes and other standard
Along with themes and other standard customisations, Swiftkey also shows you stats pertaining to your typing habits. And with the help of cloud sync you can actually take your predictions with you when you change your phone. All the “learning” that Swiftkey does based on your typing is synced to the cloud.
This article was first published in May 2017 issue of Digit magazine. To read Digit’s articles first, subscribe here or download the Digit e-magazine app for Android and iOS. You could also buy Digit’s previous issues here.