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Help What alternate keyboard do you use?

Hehe, try Android 2.3 (A.K.A) Gingerbread Keyboard. Heres the link, download it like you would any other .apk file.

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Now once its successfully downloaded, you go to 'settings' then 'Language and keyboard' and un-check all other keyboards except 'Gingerbread keyboard' and tada, best keyboard to date, best part, its pure Android.
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I've been using the Smart Keyboard so-called "Trial" version by Dexilog LLC, $FREE in the Market. It makes some nice (and very configurable) adjustments to input that are great even if you primarily or exclusively use the physical keyboard.

Some of my favorites:

  • Option to enable suggestion ribbon, with or without autocompletion, when using the physical keyboard just like it it with the virtual keyboard. The ribbon's very discreet and hides completely until text is entered in an input, so the screen-area sacrifice is minimally bothersome.
  • Option to add directional controls (arrow keys) to the virtual keyboard, which on a phone without a cursor ball/pad can be a real sanity-protector. I do wish they were a bit easier to access, being hidden in an alternate layer two levels deep. But compared to the standard virtual keyboard, where your only positioning option is direct touch, I'll take it! Also, that same alternate layer includes a numeric pad, configurable as phone- or calculator-layout.
  • The single most exasperating decision Samsung made in the physical keyboard layout is fixed: comma is bound to Fn-period. (It's left on Fn-N, too.)
  • Configurable long-press delay, for typing alternate symbols on the virtual keyboard without shifting layouts. (Doesn't work on physical -- I wish!)
  • Swipe gestures on the virtual keyboard suface. (Which can partially fix the arrow-key accessibility problem, since you can bind a swipe in some direction to switch directly to that layer.)
  • Optionally include names of Contacts in the suggestion dictionary
  • Directly access & edit user dictionary
  • User dictionary can auto-learn words, and "Smart" feature adjusts based on usage so frequently-typed words bubble up the list.
  • AutoTexts can be defined with short mnemonics for longer strings. (Type "icus" when replying to a text, it automatically becomes "I'll see you soon." That sort of thing.) Works on all input surfaces.

One irritation (minor, to me): It breaks the physical Sym key. The symbol popup is still accessible, it's just bound to Fn-Shift. Pressing Sym produces an "unknown character" block. (▯, sorta.)

There's tons of other stuff, too, that I didn't mention simply because it's not of particular interest to me: T9 entry mode, keyboard transparency, customizable appearance, etc, etc. Overall, I've found it greatly enhances the input process. The first two bullet points on my list, alone, shore up the major limitations of the different input modes, blurring the functionality line between virtual and physical until it's mostly just a matter of personal preference -- as it should be.

With a fully-functional, minimal-hassle $FREE version, not much to prevent you at least giving it a whirl, if you're looking to enhance the input experience beyond the stock keyboard(s).

(Lest it scare people away: "Trial" is a bit of a misnomer, I feel... they should have called it something else. This isn't a timed-expiration or crippleware build -- it's fully functional. There is a nagware box that pops up sometimes when starting input, you have to stare at the trial-version message for a second or two before you can dismiss it and start typing. It's not that irritating, and no reason the free version can't be used indefinitely. Though considering the "PRO" version is only ~$2.61 US right now, I can't think of any reason I wouldn't buy it if I stick with this keyboard.)
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[TheAndroid];2032535 said:
Now once its successfully downloaded, you go to 'settings' then 'Language and keyboard' and un-check all other keyboards except 'Gingerbread keyboard' and tada, best keyboard to date, best part, its pure Android.

I just wanted to mention, so people know... there's really no reason to disable all other input methods (keyboards) in order to use Gingerbread's. Or any other alternate keyboard, for that matter. In fact, it can be better if you don't.

If you leave the others enabled, then you have the option to long-press on an input field, choose "Input Method" from the pop-up menu, and you'll be able to switch between the various choices at will! It's great for trying out different possibilities.
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