As exciting as seeing the Gingerbread keyboard leak out was, the fact remained that users stuck on Android 2.1 or below couldn't join in on the fun, and the same went for users of non-rooted devices.
Fortunately, the Android community rests not, and the keyboard has been neatly packaged into an APK and posted for all to see. Thanks to XDA-Developers member hotaru, both Éclair-running and non-rooted handsets can now access Google's latest input method.
- Download the file appropriate to your OS (download the file from here if you're on Froyo; if you're running Éclair, grab it from here).
- On your computer, move it to the root (or the main folder) of your phone's SD card.
- Unplug your phone from your computer, enter your favorite file manager, and install the APK.
Alternatively, you can download the file directly to your phone and install it as you would any other APK - simply select it from the notification bar when it's done downloading and hit "Install."
- Open the "Settings" application, go to "Language and Keyboard," and enable the "Gingerbread Keyboard."
- Go to any text field, long press it, select "Input Method," and select "Gingerbread Keyboard."
The obvious advantage here is the availability of an Éclair version, but there's actually another bonus: you can install this keyboard alongside the regular Android keyboard that has been with us since 1.6, an option that was not available in the previous version. As they say, it's the best of both worlds!