30
Oct
nexusae0_gesture-typing

As part of the unveiling of Android 4.2 yesterday, Google introduced a brand-new input method on the stock Android keyboard called "Gesture Typing." Basically, it's Swype. If you don't know what Swype is, check out this video. Basically, you drag your finger to type instead of tapping. Here's Google's version in action:

While I'm not a fan of the Swype-style typing, a lot of people do seem to love it, and it's cool that Google is now providing a tertiary input method (alongside normal typing and voice typing) on the stock keyboard. It integrates seamlessly, too. There's nothing to turn on, nothing to toggle - it just works.

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Download and Install

Now, getting it on your device is going to be easy for some of you, and less easy for others. You'll need to be on Android 4.0+, to start.

If you're on a phone with a UI overlay that has the stock keyboard disabled (eg, Samsung TouchWiz, HTC Sense, Sony), you can just download the apk below- no root required. To install, make sure you have "install from unknown sources" enabled in your phone settings, and after installation, go into your phone's keyboard settings and enable "Android keyboard." Then, you can switch to the new keyboard. This may also work on some "stock" Android custom ROMs - but it will not work on stock Android builds distributed by Google. For instructions for Nexus devices running stock software, see the next paragraph.

Update 10/30/12 3:43PM: Google asked us to take down the mirrors, and we have complied with their request. They don't like it when unfinished software floats to the public, which is an understandable concern.

  • Mirror 1 (APK)
  • Mirror 2 (APK)
  • Mirror 3 (APK)

If the apk doesn't work, you're running a phone that is either A.) running stock Android (as in, AOSP), or B.) running software that has the stock Android keyboard as an option, you'll need to download this ZIP file, and flash it in recovery. That also means you're going to need root. as you'll be writing to /system/apps. Before you do, though, either back up the stock keyboard (if you don't know how, you probably shouldn't be doing this) or create a full image backup, just in case. Here's that ZIP file:

  • Mirror 1 (flashable ZIP)
  • Mirror 2 (flashable ZIP)
  • Mirror 3 (flashable ZIP)

Note: this build is an older one, and is not representative of exactly how the keyboard will look when Android 4.2 is officially released. The word suggestion pop-ups, for example, are different from what we've seen on Nexus 4s running the release build of Android 4.2. All the functionality is there and works properly, though.

David Ruddock
David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Brady Rainey

    "There's nothing to turn on, nothing to toggle - it just works."

    I see what you did there.

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    Are you sure it's official? pretty sure the official one doesn't have the godawful white and blue word thing

    • http://twitter.com/TeamAndIRC Justin Case

      Yes, it was pulled from a Nexus 4, be it a few weeks ago.

      • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

        must be outdated then cause what we seen yesterday didn't have that ugly thing, it was showing the word you typed but ICS style.

    • GraveUypo

      that was added in photoshop to show what was being typed. it isn't part of the keyboard

      • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

        It's in the video too.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Yes, it's official, but it might be a *slightly* older version than what will appear on the Nexus 4 at release. It works fine and I've discovered no issues thus far.

      • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

        Yeah it must be old

        It has Android 4.0 style to the words you styped in
        http://i.imgur.com/8vZfL.png

    • Larizard

      might be a pre-release version. The video from The Verge clearly shows the words in Holo Blue with a dark gray rectangle background.

    • AlwaysAndroid

      Settings>Language & input>Android keyboard (settings icon on the side)>Advanced settings>uncheck Show gesture word at the bottom.

    • http://twitter.com/JDFlow JDFlow (K SEA)

      Any idea how to get the older keyboard with the box popup instead of the ugly one?

  • Axel594

    I know it's just a keyboard, but hopefully this is a gate opening to a messaging interface similar to iMessage and BBM in a few more Android releases? (:

    • mkln

      did you mean: Google Talk?

      • Axel594

        I do know about google talk, but in my area it is a very unused platform. So if google where to integrate GTalk and the stock messaging application it would be quite awesome. Google has G+ Messages, GTalk, and Text Messages. So maybe they could mix them all together so to speak.

        • Brandon Price

          This has been a request (with the inclusion of Google Voice SMS) of many an Android fan for a long time now.

  • http://twitter.com/_woj_tek Wojtek

    pity they don't focus on more language dictionaries...

  • http://www.facebook.com/miCc117 Micheal Banning

    your the best :P

  • http://www.facebook.com/nikhilkaduskar Nikhil Kaduskar

    This must be the first time that a Nexus device has a difficult process than others! :)

  • skitchbeatz

    I hate all of the hoops you have to jump through to download from these file sharing services

    • atlouiedog

      There's a cross platform program called jdownloader that will wait the appropriate amount of time and even solve some captchas. You can just give it the link and come back in a few minutes to your downloaded file without thinking about it.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Pick the other mirrors - they work much better.

  • zev

    works fine on my sgs3 international. but the popup looks a little bit weird (just like in the picture in this article). in the nexus 4 video the background of the popup was black and it looked much better this way.

    • lbrfabio

      I think it's an older version

  • Trace

    How is this better than Swype?

    • Nicholas Loomans

      I'm wondering myself. I've used Swype as long as I've had Android (It was pretty much the deciding factor in buying my phone) and I don't want to leave them yet until I've given them some money (although the onus could be on them for not charging for it yet).

    • linxchaos

      You don't have to jump through stupid hoops every time you want to update it, and it looks better, in my opinion.

  • John

    Cool I guess. Not enough to get me to leave SwiftKey though.

    One major thing I can't figure out is how to double letter ...like try swiping the word, off.

    • infogulch

      With swype, you do a little circle while over the letter. But it's only needed when the word would be otherwise ambiguous, like your example could be *of* or *off*.

      • John

        Ya I know about that way. It just doesn't work on this keyboard. Oh well.

    • http://jbullfrog.net jBullfrog

      Circle (or "squiggle") on the letter you want to double.

      • John

        Ya that's not working for me.

    • selonmoi

      In Swype, you do a little loop on the letter you want to repeat. Don't know if it's the same or not here.

      • John

        Nope, it's not.

    • Jared Meyering

      The typical squiggle gesture common to swype is also not working for me, can't do double letters.

  • http://twitter.com/Shaydlife Shaydlife

    Nice to see it takes on whatever theme you're using.

  • wideopn11

    How about that, i just typed/swiped this reply from my tf300 cm10 running tablet. Nice.

  • Bill Stebbins

    Works fine after pushing manually on CM10 on my GS3

  • http://twitter.com/mikedotdunham mike dunham

    This works with JB BB

  • adleyh2000

    Just installed and works nice so far. I think there is an option not to show the words as you swipe them in that huge blue text.

  • FD

    Running CM10 on a Gnex. Used Root Explorer to rename the existing keyboard to latinime.old first. APK file then installed fine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1547790701 Alec Winograd

    Just played around with the keyboard for a few minutes. I was surprised by how smooth and accurate the swiping / predictions were.

    However, I think when SwiftKey flow comes out, I'll stick with that. The ease with which you can input characters that aren't in the alphabet is so much greater. e.g. swiping left/right on the period to get '!' '?' and ',' as well as the keypad-like number input.

  • Tony

    Thank you so much! Hopefully we get the final release of the keyboard soon as this seems to be a pre-release since there's not the holo theme for words appearing above where you swipe. And hopefully they add ability to do double letters for words like "off", otherwise works perfectly for me :).

  • Pedro Madeira

    swype doesn't seem to work with the portuguese language with this keyboard. Hopefuly the final version will work.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eduardo.raizer Eduardo Raizer

      I got it working in pt-br :) Just installed it normally... worked fine.

  • KB26

    Was I the only one waiting for the (only for android 4.0+)?

  • Leonard Krum

    Working on Asus Padfone :D

  • Sean Livingston

    OOO SNAGGLES.

  • Leonard Krum

    Now... we need.... *The cameraaaaaaaaaaa~~~~~~<3" apk.

  • justin

    not offical 4.2 - the newest has a blue square background on the predictive text that follows the finger

    • Leonard Krum

      Read the "Note": Its a old version of the new 4.2 keyboard... maybe a beta.. or alpha.

  • http://twitter.com/TIBoine Tor Ivan Boine

    works with one x. although the swipe gestures didnt work with norwegian.

  • jamaall

    Anyone know when 4.2 is supposed to be released?

  • hush404

    Ehh, I've used Swype and others like it. I've honestly not found a better keyboard than I have in SwiftKey. It's prediction is gold.

  • Riz Virani

    I cannot get this to work on my Sprint GNex with AOKP5

    • Riz Virani

      Ha, found my problem. I had to change the default keyboard :)

  • Bruno Pedro

    I'll just wait

  • James Jenkins

    Pretty cool worked for me! Thanks!

  • Hack

    works on my epic 4g touch.

  • a_w_labadi
  • Gav456

    Love it, this should keep me happy until Swiftkey Flow is released, nice to see Google are making Swype default... Samsung and HTC have had it for a while. I love the floating prediction thing. It's just right for knowing when the keyboard knows what you're typing

  • http://www.facebook.com/shaunrdavis Shaun Dutchy Davis

    awesome!
    works fine on GS2 t989 cyanogenmod 10

  • Barton82

    "They don't like it when unfinished software floats to the public" - What about a finished product then, can you repackage the 4.1.2 keyboard the same way, that it works on my i9300? I know there are different kind of ports in the Play Store, but I just want an unmodified Android keyboard, just like the one in the post.

  • AriyanHaghgoo

    i can not download it!! where is the download link?

  • http://twitter.com/danlocker Daniel Locker

    Just downloaded it from pocket now. pretty good :)

  • Jocko Johnson

    I'll stick with Swiftkey

    • got runs?

      Same here.

  • Beem Keeratithananun

    Awww, can't wait!

  • pman

    may we request for the stock wallpapers from 4.2, please?

  • Chris Pinola

    being that this site definitely has access to a nexus 4 system dump, could you guys please post liblightcycle.so from /system/lib?

  • Frits

    Gesture mode not working on SGSII stock.

  • carnegie0107

    I like how is.gd lets you create custom URLs for links you shorten. For example, for this, I think I'd choose a custom URL ending in 'keyboard42'.
    ;)

    • Brandon Price

      Indeed...

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Charitos/536042829 John Charitos

    awesome! i got the 4.2 keyboard and the 4.2 camera now too! from android centr... not sure if i can actually say it here but i am doing for the good of android fans

  • https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ootpapps.saving.made.simple&feature Out of the Park Apps

    I wonder, did swiftkey flow see this coming?

  • Denzel

    Here is a video showing gesture typing on the Android Keyboard and Samsung Keyboard on the Galaxy S3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeJYbID_dU4

  • Martinko23

    where are the download links ?! :/

  • krypta

    there is already a rooted rom on xda:

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?p=43708395

    works like a charm :)