If there's one thing an Android power user really appreciates, it's options. I personally enjoy having a myriad of different apps to choose from for a single task so that I can find the one that best suits my needs, one of which is typing.
By now, you've probably heard of SwiftKey, an alternative keyboard that predicts what you are typing based on statistics and personal history. The company is planning on making an ever bigger splash in the world of Android by going the same route as Opera: creating an app specifically for Android tablets.
Still in prototype form, the keyboard includes the same text prediction that has made SwiftKey so popular, but takes advantage of the tablet's larger screen size (in this case, a Galaxy Tab; we'll have to wait and see how it works on upcoming 10" tablets) by splitting the keyboard into two sections, with a keypad, including arrow keys, in between.
Sony Ericsson has always had upgrade issues when it came to Android - with the X10, the X10 Mini, and the X10 Mini Pro just recently receiving the update to Éclair (2.1), the majority of Xperia users have been deprived of the numerous features available in Android 2.x. Recently, with leaks of the Playstation Phone (a.k.a. Xperia Play) and the Anzu (a.k.a. X12), it has been made clear that Sony is most likely coming with back with a storm of devices with up-to-date firmware and its usual competitive hardware.
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.
We haven't heard much about the HTC Knight (or EVO Shift 4G, as it may be called) lately, but HTCPedia Shop recently came into possession of some photos of the device - albeit wearing some aesthetically questionable cases.
The phone itself, though, actually looks very slick. Clearly, design points were taken from the EVO 4G, which in my opinion remains the best-looking Android device on the market. As has been previously reported, the Shift 4G will be graced with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, HTC Sense, what appears to be a 3.7" screen, and Sprint's fabulous (if you live in an area with coverage) 4G - as can be seen by the WiMax logo in the pictures.
Having finally seen the Android 2.3 Gingerbread release happen, I can't tell you how happy I am. All I can say is that this is better than Christmas and New Year's Eve combined!
Amidst all this holiday spirit and joy in the air, one amazing person (Peter Alfonso of Bugless Beast) has already ported the Android 2.3 keyboard to rooted 2.2 devices. Be sure to thank him kindly for the following Android 2.3 keyboard port.
As you may have seen, Google took the covers off Gingerbread today and released the new SDK, which allowed me to immediately jump into an emulated Gingerbread instance. After playing with the new UI for a while, I've taken a bunch of screenshots, which you can find below, along with some of my notes.
Before I dive into the Gingerbread screenshots, here is a side-by-side comparison of the same Settings screen in Donut (1.6), Froyo (2.2), and Gingerbread (2.3):
From left to right: Donut, Froyo, Gingerbread
As you can see, not much has changed since Froyo, except for most of the elements getting darker and/or greener.
To end our relatively calm and Gingerbread-less Friday, I present to you The Evolution Of Android - a stop motion animation created by YouTube user droidsans. It's kind of like our Meet Andy: Android's History In A Nutshell, except it's not. And it's got a twist at the end. Can you guess what it is?
My favorite part was when Andy spit it (I'm still not telling you what "it" is - watch the video) out - thanks for making our Friday night a little more fun, droidsans!
It seems that the creators of 8pen have been listening intently to user feedback on their radical new input method (see our original post for a video demonstration), because yesterday they released a rather nice update. One of the main issues of contention that Android users had with 8pen was that it was not free, and simply took too long to get used to to trial fairly within the Android Market's 24-hr refund period.
Does everyone remember the new keyboard called 8pen that arrived earlier this month and took the Android community by storm, both negatively and positively? I don't think I've ever witnessed so many widely different opinions about whether a keyboard is completely useless or a work of a genius until 8pen came out. Brian, for example, loves it, and I absolutely despise it.
There is one reason to install and use this rotary keyboard, however, and it is a good one.