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.
For starters, there are new keyboard options for people with large phones. Split and mini keyboards aren't unheard of, but they're nice to see here. Read More
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. Users can now spice up their text messages, emails, and other communiqués with fun Japanese-inspired characters and mood icons. Read More
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.
Mad Catz, maker of all sorts of cheapish gaming accessories (and upcoming Android-powered gaming console M.O.J.O.) is looking to change the landscape and make PC gamers feel right at home with its newest announcement: say hello to S.T.R.I.K.E., an NFC-equipped Bluetooth gaming keyboard designed specifically for Android. Read More
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. Read More
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. Here's what we discovered. Read More
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.
It's just too bad that QWERTY fans now have to hang out in the shallow end of the spec pool. Read More
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. That should be a big plus for those who can afford the early crop of 4K televisions and monitors, even if there's a definite lack of content that actually takes advantage of it. Read More
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. Minuum is one of the latter options.
This minimalist keyboard raised nearly $90,000 on Indiegogo, over eight times what the campaign aimed for. Read More
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. (You may need to click on one first.) Pressing Escape will return the screenshots to the gallery view, or you can just press the left arrow key until it minimizes. Read More
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.
The TREWGrip wants to give mobile typists an alternative to the on-screen "hunt-and-peck" game we've been playing for years. Read More