At some point in your childhood, one of your parents may have warned you against making faces - "knock it off," they said, "or your face will freeze like that." That sound advice might not actually be true, but it seems to have a pertinent application for the latest versions of the Hangouts app on Android. Reddit user Recon2012 found an app-killing bug within Hangouts relating to the new emoji functionality in the Android keyboard.
An updated version of Google Keyboard has made its way into the Play Store, taking most of the previously Nexus 5-exclusive features and expanding them out to other devices. We've covered the improvements in-depth before (and provided an APK), but in short, the swiping trail is now white, emoji are built-in, and users can swipe multiple words without having to lift up their finger. Unfortunately, some features still require KitKat, such as full-color emoji.
The SwiftKey team just rolled out a massive update to their popular Android keyboard, introducing various layouts suitable for a wide range of screen sizes. Now they're moving on to tackle other long-awaited, user-requested features. Two responses on the app's idea suggestion page show that the developers are currently working on adding support for emojis and the ability to enable a dedicated number row.
Neither of these features are particularly groundbreaking in the grand scheme of things, but that is precisely what makes the demand for them so strong.
There are a lot of Bluetooth keyboards aimed at Android tablets, but ASUS' Transformer series of tablets and docks has long been a favorite of those who prefer a full laptop-style form factor. ASUS is trying to bring that same experience (or at least part of it) to a broader range of devices with the TransKeyboard, revealed on the company's YouTube channel late last night.
The TransKeyboard is pretty similar to other mobile keyboards - it's relatively compact and interoperable with Android smartphones/tablets and PCs.
Swype may have just gained new split and mini keyboard options, but the SwiftKey folks have been sitting on something even more visionary for quite a while now. Their "Layouts for Living" program adds many layout options - split keyboards, movable pop-up keyboards, etc. - to what is already one of the most popular Android keyboards out there.
The video above highlights thumb, compact, and full layout options.
It's often the case that one piece of software will introduce a groundbreaking feature, but others will expand on it, eventually replacing the original. When it comes to Android, Swype and SwiftKey come to mind. But the latter has yet to vanquish the former, nor has the addition of gesture-based typing to the stock keyboard, and Swype has now been updated with a host of new features that show just how much of a heavyweight this contender remains.
Until now, using emoji in parts of Android besides Hangouts could be a little tricky. Officially, the emoji keyboard was included as part of the iWnn IME, and required users to manually switch using the persistent keyboard notification which appeared any time a user tapped a text field. Even then, users couldn't enjoy the full-color emoji found in Hangouts. This was certainly less than ideal.
Thankfully, Google has spread "Emoji everywhere" with Android 4.4 KitKat, integrating the set of awesome emoji with Google Keyboard for easier access.
Since the dawn of mobile gaming, there have been numerous requests from traditional PC gamers for gaming keyboard support in Android. After all, an FPS is just more fun when you use WASD, right? Alas, this just isn't a thing – we live in a land of touch controls and Bluetooth gaming controllers. And SHIELD.
It's pretty easy to understand why typing isn't exactly an optimal experience on a smartphone. They are designed to fit in palms and come with virtual keys smaller than the fingertips used to press them. Tablets don't suffer from this problem, but they come with one of their own - a user can type speedily using the significantly larger keys, but resting their fingers on the screen for a mere second is all it takes to turn "superpower" to "sauerkraut," and suddenly that status update about whether America should get involved in Syria accumulates a different flood of Facebook comments than was expected.
Earlier today, Google released a relatively minor update to its keyboard application with only one really useful change: numbers in the top row on tablets. While the update itself is indeed not too significant, it did manage to bring several interesting half-baked under-the-hood bits which aren't quite ready for consumption. These are exactly the kinds of bits we like here in the AndroidPolice teardown kitchen.
Armed with some of Ron's initial findings, my teardown partner Santiago Rosales and I dug into the innards of the v1.1 APK.