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The keys are alright: 6 Android keyboard apps to try

Florence Ion | Oct. 10, 2013
Find a better way to swipe, thumb-type, or dictate your next text message.

Like Swype, its prediction engine will take a while to catch on to your word choices, but it's a relatively fast learner. SwiftKey also comes with a few different themes to choose form. You can download the premium version of SwiftKey for $3.99, as well as the tablet-specific version.

Go Keyboard
 
Go board

I wasn't too keen on Go Keyboard initially. I stumbled upon it while I was researching launcher applications for Android, but after spending some time with it I realize why it's so popular in the Google Play store. Go Keyboard can be a little overwhelming at first glance, but it's the add-ons that make your experience.

Go Keyboard features its own predictive engine and slide input, but you can also download any of its massive amount of themes available in the Google Play store to transform the app into your own. If you're feeling expressive, you can even spring for the Emoji themepack.

You'll have to be careful with Go Keyboard if you like your system running fast, however. It can bog down your phone if you leave on the haptic feeback. It's also buggy at times if you're downloading theme packs and plug-ins from nefarious sources. Bear in mind that you'll also have to fork over some cash via an in-app purchase if you want to get rid of the annoying pop-up ads.

Touchpal X
 

TouchPal X is another keyboard application that combines themes and swipe input. You can slide to type or choose from a variety of keyboard themes that fit your personality the best. TouchPal X also includes a sentence-prediction gesture that it calls the "Wave," in addition to what it dubs as its "walkie-talkie style" input, which lets you dictate, type, and then dictate again. Commuters will also appreciate the one-handed keyboard layout, which shifts the QWERTY keyboard over to one side of the screen so that you can much easily pen a response back to a friend on Facebook. And if you're curious about how fast you actually type, TouchPal X includes a built-in keyboard meter and statistics tracker.

Thumb Keyboard
 
thumb keyboard

Placing your fingers on homerow on a tablet where you don't have any tactile keys to refer to can be awkward. If you're comfortable with typing with your thumbs, however, Thumb Keyboard is a relatively inexpensive application that splits the keyboard in half so that it's easier for your thumbs to reach the letters--kind of like how physical ergonomic keyboards are split apart to help you curve your wrists. There is a seperate tablet and smartphone version, and both work rather well for thumbs-only typing. Thumb Keyboard also features different layouts for varying sized screens.

 

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