When last we saw the LG Enact, it was looking like a decidedly ho-hum budget phone for Verizon whose only differentiator was an oddly retro 4-button layout. Evleaks has graced us with yet another look at the phone and... well, it still looks pretty ho-hum, but now it's a slightly more interesting QWERTY slider. Verizon hasn't had a new Android phone with a physical keyboard since the Pantech Marauder over a year ago.
Android manufacturers have been using the Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) standard since 2011. While most Android device owners are blissfully unaware that their gadgets can output HDMI (among other things) via a nifty little adapter, power users treasure MHL as an easy way to expand functionality. Today the MHL LLC announced the 3.0 revision of the standard, including a ton of new goodies.
First of all, MHL 3.0 will support video output of up to 4K (or "Ultra HD," usually 3840 × 2160 pixels) resolution.
Here's the problem with mobile keyboards - they take up too much space, but they're too functional to do away with. They're the worst way to input text, with the exception of all of the alternatives. Now that more phones either come with Swype or a default keyboard that replicates its innovation, there's even less of a reason to try out the many other options that are out there. Some third-party keyboards simply feel half-baked, but there are a few that pique our interest.
The new Play Store is certainly snazzy, but a lot of the functionality of the older site has been missing ever since it got a fresh coat of digital paint. One of the most bemoaned omissions was contextual keyboard shortcuts, especially handy for touch typists whose fingers never leave the keys. (ThinkPad users, I'm looking at you.) Good news, everyone: as of late yesterday, they're back.
On any single app listing, press the left or right arrow keys to navigate between the posted screenshots.
There have been plenty of times over the course of many lengthy emails sent from my smartphone that I've wished for a keyboard shaped like something between a heavily armored headless bird and a stingray that's missing its tail. Okay, I may not have worded the wish quite in that way, but the point is that a new Kickstarter project is available that promises to make it come true nonetheless. The TREWGrip Mobile QWERTY is a handheld typing device and mouse that will give your smartphone wings.
SwiftKey needs no introduction at this point. It's widely considered by many to be the premier keyboard available for Android, if not any mobile device, for its ability to more accurately predict words by learning a user's habits. SwiftKey Cloud, on the other hand, is the new service that will sync your keyboard across multiple devices, preventing each install of SwiftKey from having to start fresh. A new beta is now available, so get it while it's hot.
I really don't want to hate Snapkey's Si Evolution keyboard. It's innovative, and as the forward thinking individual that I tell myself I am, I want to be encouraging. But here's the thing, innovative solutions should fix something. That's why they're called solutions in the first place. The Si Evolution keyboard is kind of cool, and given enough devotion, it might even speed up your typing, but it simply breaks more than it fixes.
I'm a huge fan of text expanders. Seriously, they are necessary to me. As a regular user of both Mac and Windows, I have sought out solutions on both platforms and rely on them daily. That's why I've always felt horrified that there weren't any great options on Android. After all, mobile devices are already input-impaired, it only makes sense that we need quality shortcuts. As it turns out, such a shortcut has been under our noses for quite some time, tucked away where few would look and only available with the stock Android 4.1 (or higher) keyboard.
Swype is far from an unfamiliar face in the mobile world. It has served some of the finest Android phones as an included keyboard, permitting one-handed writers to swipe out words rather than peck away with their thumbs. During this time, it was unavailable as a separate download, and using it was somewhat of an exclusive experience. It has since entered the Play Store, and it's now making the jump up to version 1.5.6 less than a month later.