When it comes to phone keyboards, the last half a decade has made a huge push to moving to completely on-screen keyboards, removing the limitations set by pesky things like physical matter and physics. Unlike the keyboard on a conventional laptop, these touchscreen keyboards can change depending on your needs, your tastes, and even some unique methods for input that can add some innovation in an otherwise a pretty static input method. With that said, it’s no wonder that when looking for Keyboard in the Android Play Store, you’ll regularly see Keyboard apps, even ridiculous ones, with millions if not tens of millions of downloads. So, how do you decide which are the best Android keyboards for you to even take the time to download and try? Well, I’ve scoured the Android store and the web and without further ado, here’s what I found. First up, Google Keyboard. Okay, with over a hundred million downloads, there’s gotta be something to it, right? If we’re being honest, there is. If you’re looking for a fast, responsive keyboard that’s minimalistic and is just good for typing with no bells and whistles, then this is the one you should try.
It’s free, it comes from Google themselves, and has that huge user base I previously mentioned, so it’ll stay up to date more than most. Oh, and did I mention it’s fast, and it’s free. Next up is Swype. Swype is the original keyboard to have the ability to swype your fingers along the keys to input text, which is my preferred method when I’m using one hand. The thing is that most other keyboards have “borrowed” this feature and put it into their own keyboards, including the Google Keyboard that I just showed you. So, you’d think Swype doesn’t have much going for it now. But you’d be wrong. It’s still one of the fastest at using the swipe motion for text, as you’d expect from the OG.
The key layout is convenient and it’s one of the few keyboards with voice-to-text done by Dragon Diction, which arguably is one of the best voice-to-text systems out there right now for consumers. On top of that, it’s also only 99 cents, but has a free trial so you can see if it’s even worth that dollar to you. One of the most popular keyboards on Android, SwiftKey, used to actually be above the Google Keyboard in terms of total installs, and even though it’s lost that top position, it’s still loved by millions.
It’s actually very similar to Swype in a lot of ways, but it’s real claim to fame and why it’s user base is so loyal, is the “fluency” engine, a fancy name basically for it’s text prediction system. Regardless of the fancy name, many people swear by it and it’s ability to know how you compose your sentences and what words are more likely to be coming up next, etc. It does this, actually, by watching for patterns as you type and by connecting to your social networks to analyze how you type on there. You don’t have to enable the social networks, but for the engine to really kind of do its thing, it’s recommended. Fleksy. Every since I did the video on how to easily send GIFs on your iPhone, I’ve been obsessed with annoying my friends using GIFs. It’s a ton of fun, especially ’cause it’s a relatively new concept, and most people are pleasantly confused when they get a looping animation of a cat and Shaq just wiggling together! It did get me wondering though, is there a keyboard on Android that could easily send GIFs as well? Turns out one of the most popular keyboards for Android added the ability to easily send GIFs from their keyboard.
Did they watch my video? Fleksy, known for it’s clever gesture system to help you type faster, which is enough for you to download it by itself and try it, also added GIFs, so now you HAVE to try it! Go Keyboard. One word–Themes. If you’re the type of person who loves to theme things on your device, whether it’s Frozen’s Elsa, or the New York Giants, whatever tickles your fancy, then this is the keyboard for you. You can install it and then simply search the Play Store for Go Keyboard theme, and you’ll be presented with tons of them. Some of which even have over a million installs on their own. See the ridiculous gold one I mentioned before.
On top of the themes, everything is customizable, from the layout to the background, the fonts, and even the sounds. As for the actual text input, it’s actually pretty smooth, and even has that swipe input method built in as well. It’s also free in the Play Store but some of the themes might cost you a buck or two. Bitmoji. Now technically on Android this isn’t a keyboard, but it is on LS. It’s free, and after an initial setup of creating your own likeness one time, it replicates you in a bunch of poses and themed images to send as if they were emoji.