Update: This keyboard is now in the Android Market. Hit the widget below to grab it from there.

For those who are anxious to get their hands on Ice Cream Sandwich, another bit of Android's newest iteration has slipped out. This time, we've got the ICS keyboard. While it doesn't include the live voice-to-text functionality we were impressed by at Google's announcement (though there are options related to the microphone button in the keyboard's settings), it does bring some nice improvements to the table over Gingerbread's keyboard. It's important to note that this keyboard is only compatible with phones (it doesn't play nice with tablets), and since the package isn't signed by Google, it's not exactly official. No threats have been discovered yet, but users should be aware of the risk. It's also worth mentioning that while many users have reported great performance, your mileage may vary.

Besides a visual facelift, the ICS keyboard has slightly enhanced prediction/correction functionality, which looks at not only the word you're typing, but those around it as well. Further, users can long-press a word suggestion to choose from a ton of other possibilities. The keyboard also suggests names from your contacts list if it thinks you're talking about a specific person.

screenshot_71 screenshot_72

For those worried about the keyboard's security, a user over at Reddit has kindly extracted the apk's manifest, revealing the following permissions:

  • VIBRATE
  • ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE
  • READ_USER_DICTIONARY
  • WRITE_USER_DICTIONARY
  • READ_CONTACTS
  • BIND_INPUT_METHOD
  • BIND_TEXT_SERVICE
  • ANDROIDSPELLCHECKERSERVICE
  • INPUT_LANGUAGE_SELECTION

Without further ado, you can grab the download here or here. Just install the apk, activate the keyboard from settings, set it as your input method, and enjoy!

Source: XDA via Reddit