We have so many different types of keyboards for Android, with each having its own unique feature. But which one is better? We take a look at a few options.
Go Keyboard by Go Dev Team:
Go Keyboard is pretty smooth with its versatile options and laid out keys. Although it’s not the snappiest for people who like to type fast, it’s great considering that it’s free. This keyboard comes highly recommended for a new Android user, as you will get used to this in no time. It is responsive and smooth too. Users can make tweaks to keyboard with the help of downloadable themes and add-ons. What’s better is that the keyboard works on devices running on 1.6 and up. Download Go Keyboard from the Google Play Store.
Jelly Bean Keyboard (unofficial) by Beansoft:
This unofficial Jelly Bean Keyboard was launched just a few days ago, so it’s still in its infancy. Well, this keyboard isn’t monumentally different from what you’re used to seeing in ICS, unless of course you use a custom keyboard like the one mentioned above. Users with the stock Android keyboard will see little or no difference in the layout. I use a Nexus S, and the only change I saw was the addition of a voice typing key at the bottom in place of the comma symbol. Which after a little digging I realized was a feature that existed on ICS too. So basically you can say that the new keyboard brings absolutely nothing to the table for a vanilla Android user. To be fair though, we don’t think the app was made for stock ICS users, but for the depressed users of heavily skinned keyboards that come with most smartphones these days. This too is a free download so we recommend you to try it. While it might not bring the versatility of Go Keyboard, it is something which no one can hate mainly due to its simplicity. Expect it to change with subsequent updates as it is still relatively new in the Play Store. It is available only for Ice Cream Sandwich running smartphones, so that’s a letdown. Here’s the Play Store link to the app.
Below are the recommended paid keyboards:
Thumb Keyboard By Beansoft:
This keyboard is among the best third party keyboards in the Play Store right now and is worth every penny. It basically gives you the option to stretch out the keyboard to make typing easier (or a little tricky depending on what you choose). I prefer the standard phone layout as it is less complicated and does what it’s supposed to do. There are different layouts for different sizes of devices, so that’s a huge bonus. I found other layouts to be particularly tricky as they didn’t go well with the portrait indentation. But once you begin using the split keyboard on landscape orientation, there’s no turning back. It is one of the smoothest and quickest landscape keyboards I’ve used on a mobile device. It replicates iOS’ split keyboard pretty well and performs great too. It’s a paid app though and it costs a little over $2. The keyboard requires Android 2.2 and up. Head over to the Google Play Store to download Thumb Keyboard.
Swiftkey 3 Keyboard by Swiftkey:
Here comes Swiftkey, which as the name rightly suggests is fast indeed. The new 3.0 version of the app brings a pretty flashy color to the keyboard which I’m not a huge fan of. Nevertheless, the keyboard follows in the footsteps of its predecessors and is a viable upgrade. It is smart as it saves words that are not in the dictionary and understands your typing speed and matches it accordingly. Priced above $4, one might feel that Swiftkey is a tad overpriced. So make sure you download the free version of the keyboard prior to getting the full license. Swiftkey works on devices running on Android 2.1 and above. Download link for the Swiftkey Keyboard.
Thumb Keyboard and Swiftkey are some of the best Android keyboards I have used till date, though Swiftkey is a little too fancy for my taste. There’s the free alternative with Go Keyboard, which is pretty decent too. Searching for keyboard apps in the Play Store will fetch you hundreds of results with Swiftkey, Slide It and Go Keyboard being the most popular ones. But it all comes down to what you like. If you use a lot of smileys, emoticons then the Jelly Bean keyboard probably isn’t for you, as it is plain and simple just like it was intended. Swiftkey, Thumb Keyboard and Go Keyboard however are very versatile with the emoticons and a few other customizable options. So you have to decide on those grounds. I personally found Swiftkey and the Thumb Keyboard to be very pleasing, while Go Keyboard and the unofficial Jelly Bean keyboard are great free alternatives. I did not mention Slide It keyboard in the list as I’m not an avid user of the Swype style keyboard, so I probably wouldn’t be making it justice by mentioning it here.
This is not a comprehensive list of apps, but merely the ones I like. Do you have any better alternatives in mind? Let me know by leaving a comment below.