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Google's Handwriting Keyboard for Android Wear 2.0 is now available on the Play Store

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.

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GBoard v6.2 adds a Text Editor tool for fine cursor control, resizing the one-handed keyboard, new languages, and much more [APK Teardown + Download]

A new version of Gboard hit the stage late Wednesday night, and this one is absolutely packed with great improvements. The toolbar is now configurable, making space for an entirely new tool for editing text and navigating the cursor. One-handed mode now allows for resizing and positioning the keyboard. There's also a stack of newly supported languages from Assamese to Waray. The teardown isn't empty either, as there are signs Google may be planning to merge in the Handwriting keyboard and introduce an Incognito Mode.

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Android O feature spotlight: Android O will supposedly make navigating Android with a keyboard suck less

If you've ever used a keyboard with Android, you'll know that the operating system and apps weren't exactly designed around arrow keys or tabbing. And, honestly, there wasn't much in the way of motivation for Google to fix this, historically: Android devices with keyboards are few and far between these days, so why care?

Then Android apps on Chromebooks happened, and suddenly, a lot more people are using their keyboards in apps that traditionally only ever saw touch-based interaction. In recognition of this, Google is promising that Android O will offer considerable improvements in the consistency of the experience of navigating your keyboard-equipped (or connected) device by providing more standard behaviors for the arrow and tab keys, in particular.

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[Update: Stable] SwiftKey Beta improves the flow experience with 3 possible predictions

One of the reasons I don't swipe on my smartphone's keyboard very often is that I can never be too sure what the prediction engine will insert especially when the word is too short or the letters and swipe motion are very similar to another word. "To" and "too," "art" and "at," "deal" and "desk," are some of many examples where moving your finger a few millimeters and pausing on a letter for a few milliseconds can make all the difference between a quick message and lost seconds spent tapping backspace and retrying to type the correct word.

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Gboard 6.1 Beta adds built-in Translate, new theme selector, and more [APK Download]

Ever since Google Keyboard was renamed to Gboard with several new features in tow, the keyboard has continued to receive new functionality. The Play Store beta program for Gboard was just made public, and the first beta version (6.1) has a few major changes.

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Google+ 9.6 adds support for inserting GIFs through Gboard [APK Download]


SwiftKey for Android now supports 150 languages

SwiftKey is celebrating a milestone by reaching support for 150 languages. Think that's too many? The Ethnologue says there are more than 7000 languages spoken in the world today, so 150 will seem like a teeny number by comparison, except that it should cover a huge portion of the Earth's population because many of the other languages have less than 1000 native speakers.

For a bit of comparison, Google's GBoard seems to be around the same number on my phone, offering a choice of 149 languages and dialects. There are a few differences here and there between which languages each of the two keyboards include, but they both have multi-lingual support now, letting you type in several languages at the same time to avoid often switching keyboards.

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Voice Access 2.0 beta adds voice commands to toggle the keyboard and new behavior settings [APK Download]

Google's Voice Access app is a good solution to a special kind of problem: how to use apps designed for a touchscreen without actually touching the screen. Version 2.0 began rolling out last week to users signed up for the beta. There aren't a lot of changes to come with this major version bump, but some new voice commands and settings still made this update. If you don't already have the latest version, or perhaps you've chosen not to join the beta program, there is a download link at the bottom.

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BlackBerry's last keyboard phone developed in-house possibly leaked

The smartphone industry has evolved rapidly in the past few years, and BlackBerry was a victim of complacency for much of that time. Finally in November of last year, the company caved in and released its first Android device - the BlackBerry Priv. It was too little too late, and BlackBerry has moved from developing its own hardware to rebranding existing phones, starting with the DTEK50.

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SwiftKey makes all of its premium keyboard themes free

More than 2 years ago, SwiftKey decided to take its paid keyboard app and make it free. The alternate revenue stream proposed was a theme store for different keyboard looks where some of the options would be paid. That has been going on since then, but it changes today.

Now, all SwiftKey themes are free. Premium themes, paid packs, all 100+ of them. Free. Not a dime required. You can head over to the SwiftKey Store inside your app now to see that everything is marked as free and choose a few themes to download or just grab all the packs.

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