Google debuted Android Wear 2.0 at Google I/O last year with a number of great new features, not least of which was a clever spin on the handwriting keyboard. Oddly, the handwriting keyboard was left buried in a hard to find location and had to be activated just to use it. Now that the official Wear 2.0 release is rolling out (kinda), users have reported that this keyboard didn't even come preinstalled, nor could it be found on the Play Store – at least, not until yesterday. The Handwriting Keyboard is now available.
Since we've all been waiting for Wear 2.0 to launch, it's easy to forget a sleeper like the Handwriting Keyboard. Unfortunately, without a version of it preinstalled, the Play Store won't notify people that it's available and most people won't realize they don't have it.
Note: Some watches shipping with Wear 2.0, like the LG Watch Style and Sport, do have the Handwriting Keyboard preinstalled. In some cases, the handwriting keyboard still did not work with the shipping version, but we're not really sure what was causing this problem.
If you've been fortunate enough to get the 2.0 update on your watch, or at least will be getting it soon, you can install the Handwriting Keyboard from the Play Store on the watch or open the web interface to remotely install it. Alternatively, APK Mirror also has the app (linked below), but some sideloading can be a lot of trouble on some watches, particularly if they are wireless-only.
Setting up the Handwriting Keyboard shouldn't require any extra steps like it did on the developer preview, but you may need to know how to switch between keyboards. The first opportunity to do that is available when you're looking at the input picker (left). Long-press on the keyboard icon and you'll see the keyboard picker (center). If you decide to change keyboards mid-typing, you can also tap on the little globe icon at the bottom right of the regular keyboard. The Handwriting Keyboard also has a globe icon located at the bottom center, but it auto-hides once you begin typing.
The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.
Version: 20170322.0 (23612)
- Roderick Gadellaa