back to article Google slides its soft finger-fondling into any willing Android doodad

Google's own on-screen keyboard software for touch-driven Android gadgets is now available as a freebie for all. The advertising giant's "soft" keyboard comes preinstalled onto its own devices, and offers the joy of sliding one's finger between letters to spell out words rather than tapping them out like a pecking hen. Now …

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Meh

Not available in Ireland

Well , not available in Ireland on a GS4 from O2. Seems to have downloaded onto my Xoom v1 ok.

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Will have to give this a try,

as there's something indescribably wrong with the keyboard on my HTC Desire, post ICS update. Quick mention of the Hacker's Keyboard, which sees use on my Nexus 7 for Terminal sessions.

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Re: Will have to give this a try,

Agreed on all counts. I use Hacker's for everything, but (on my phone) more because of the failings of the built-in. Will definitely be giving this one a crack....

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Whatever

+1 for the headline.

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Anonymous Coward

70% of Android users can get this

Jellybean and ICS are now on 70% of devices, it it even worth mentioning Gingerbread anymore? It's basically as relevant as iPhone 3GS.

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Re: 70% of Android users can get this

Still seeing 40%+ still on 2.x on my app stats page (and another 1% for 1.x and 3.x!). Seems enough to warrant reporting.

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Re: 70% of Android users can get this

And indeed, this matches the overall from http://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html , which lists:

Android 4.x: 57.6%

Android 2.x: 41.2%

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Unhappy

I wish Google would get their fingers out..........

and support UK English for physical keyboards.

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Much more importantly - this is another step in the right direction - Google are doing what they promised 2 (3?) years ago at I/O and that is making the newest applications and services available across a wide range of devices instead of just those running the most up-to-date OS version. This already means that being stuck on Froyo or Gingerbread doesn't necessarily mean that you can no longer run the latest version of apps - since the majority of newer features are now part of the Google Play Services support library. This is good for Google because they get their apps out to as many devices as possible, good for developers because they don't need to worry quite so much about supporting different Android platforms and good for end users because buying the latest phone which the manufacturer decides to stop supporting before your 2 year contract is up - doesn't mean what it used to mean.

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Coffee/keyboard

yeah?

My problem with Swype et al is that they were designed for people with either 1) pointed fingertips or 2) tiny fingers. If I'm not careful, I can 'press' 7 keys with one fingertip.

On the other hand, my radio personality voice works well with the voice-to-text feature.

Why is there no ESC key on my virtual keyboard?

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Re: ESC key

That's what the standard "back" button is for.

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Anonymous Coward

Swiftkey for me, I like to punctuate!!! :)

Since my first Android phone (HTC Desire) I've had a keyboard with long press for various punctuation marks. £ ? etc and numbers

The Google keyboard doesn't offer this, and you have to go into a separate symbols keyboard just to type one F'ing character.

Thankfully Swiftkey does have this feature, and I've already bought it. Good to know there's now one more choice for the folks that don't mind this limitation.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Swiftkey for me, I like to punctuate!!! :)

Erm...

It does exist on this keyboard. Long press the full stop button to the right of the space bar and you'll get access to @&%+;/()"'#-:!,?

Long press QWERTYUIOP and you'll get the numbers...

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Happy

The dictionary in prediction units seems too small

I make no compromises for the medium when I SMS and I also like to occasionally test my correspondents knowledge of the Queens English and so often suggested words are way out of context, except in the case of my Chinese cell handset which offers fine repertoire curvaceous shapes most of which are, um, Chinese to me.

Give me a QWERTY keyboard any day.

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Meh

No left/right keys = no good

Does anyone really enjoy wrestling with Android's text cursor? AFAIK only Hacker's keyboard has got cursor keys.

Unsurprisingly as it's Google there's full network access, this is better version of the stock keyboard.

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Stop

Re: No left/right keys = no good

Before the conspiracy theorists get started on the permissions, there's this from the "What's New" section:

• Updated system permissions for integrated dictionary downloader and new-user setup wizard.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No left/right keys = no good

SwiftKey has cursors, but you have to enable it in the settings

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Go

Re: No left/right keys = no good

Slightly off topic, but after this week's news I don't think you can use conspiracy theorist as an insult. The fewer permissions the better.

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Apparently no tap and hold for symbols... HTC keyboard remains better.

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Megaphone

All of the products mentioned in the article - swype, swiftkey and google's one kind of miss the point that qwerty makes no sense on touchscreens.. . They're an improvement on the hunt and poke method of course: but to compose any more weighty piece of prose than a txt you need to be looking at the output, and not the keyboard.

There's a big prize up for grabs by whoever finds a way to enter text on a capacitive screen with the speed and intuitiveness of either handscrawling or a physical keyboard… to my mind the only promising candidates for that are minuum, or "tactile keyboard" by nscrybe. Although neither of them is perfect quite yet

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