As a fan of minimal word games, I thought it might be a good idea to round up a few of my favorites. I find that I often get annoyed by busy UIs, especially in word games, so I tend to lean more towards the titles that are built with a focus on gameplay instead of bright colors and shiny buttons. This is why I've hand-selected ten of the best Android word games that offer a minimalist theme. Instead of placing these games in order of my personal preference, I've listed them out by order of price, which should make it easy for everyone to find the titles that suit them best.
We've known for a while that typing in Google Assistant was coming, but it was officially announced yesterday at I/O. And now the feature is starting to show up for some users when they launch Assistant on their phones.
Google Assistant has been picking up steam since it was announced at last year's I/O. Replacing Google Now as your, well, personal assistant, this iteration has been largely more conversational than its predecessor. Besides the odd selection of features and differences between versions, one of the other hiccups with Assistant has been the constant need to talk to it. Well, not anymore.
It's no secret that we at Android Police are huge fans of AirDroid. A big part of that is because the developer is constantly updating the app with new features. So it is with the latest version, 3.2, which adds a handful of new goodies to the remote management tool. Some of these require use with an updated version of the dedicated desktop app (instead of the more popular browser version).
The coolest addition to the program is the ability to type directly into input fields on your phone with your computer's keyboard, which is now the best possible solution for typing on Android until someone releases a mechanical keyboard five inches wide.
Compared to the early days of Android and iOS, it's amazing how good virtual keyboards have become... but that doesn't mean there's no room for improvement. Long email and street addresses in particular are a pain to type in, especially outside of the browser where saved user information isn't available. If you're tired of typing out your thirty-character company email address, Texpand can help: it allows you to create customized shortcodes for longer strings of text and use them in any text field.
Human capacity for speech seems infinite, but after writing a steady stream of text messages, emails, and posts over the years, things start to get repetitive. PhraseExpress has spared Windows users sentences, paragraphs, and pages worth of mundane conversation since its release, and now the software is ready to do the same for Android.
The Autotext PhraseExpress Android app has the ability to save any number of text snippets (though the free version is limited to 25), organizing them into a folder hierarchy similar to bookmarks. To insert them, just hit a key at the bottom of your keyboard, navigate to the correct folder, and select the desired phrase.
A mobile keyboard is only as good as the number of languages it supports. Keyword: supports. The keys we press on our keyboards may seem pretty simple to get right, but sometimes manufacturers don't ship devices with everything functioning and available out of the box, including entire languages. In those cases, the sooner an update arrives, the better. So HTC is making over 40 Sense Input languages available on Google Play, speeding up and simplifying the way it can push out future updates and language packs.
Here's a manually compiled list of all the HTC Sense Input languages now offered through the Play Store.
Using a virtual keyboard may not feel as natural as a physical one, but it's only the worst way to input text with a touchscreen except for all of the other ones. Swype has had the most success in revolutionizing how we enter text, as all of the major Android keyboards have since introduced gesture-based typing in subsequent upgrades, but it's far from perfect. That brings us to FlickKey Keyboard. It's a sliding keyboard that, by grouping letters into square groups of nine, aims to reduce how far across the screen our fingers need to slide.
Tapping a square enters the character in the middle.
Most current smartwatches, such as the Pebble and the Galaxy Gear, serve as notification hubs for whatever smartphone is paired to them, but this limitation is something several Kickstarter projects have sought to change by effectively turning smartwatches into phones themselves. This approach doesn't address how ludicrous it is to peck out words on such a tiny screen, but Minuum, the Android keyboard that fits the entire alphabet into a single row, could just be the ideal solution. The team has released a video showing the magic in action.
On phones, I find using Minuum to be more hassle than it's worth, especially when the time comes to type out passwords (even with its ability to pull out a full keyboard as needed).
Swype pioneered the use of gestures to enter words into our mobile devices, a feature that competitors have since picked up, including the keyboard that now ships pre-installed on Google's Nexus devices. Yet while Swype remains a champ at forming words out of our illegible squiggles, it hasn't been the fastest option for manually typing out words the old fashioned way. Now the app has received an update that the team promises significantly improves tap input. They've also addressed performance issues when typing out lengthy text entries and moving the cursor around to erase more specific parts of a sentence.
These enhancements are joined by additional bug fixes that will affect more specific users.