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Typing on Android


I'm typing this on my Android tablet ... well, typing is too generous a word: it implies I'm making rapid progress for a start, which I'm not. And that's down to my difficulty in finding a plausible touch screen keyboard. With Android you can replace what keyboard software the manufacturer has installed with your own (unlike iOS I gather).

This is a good idea and I've tried several now, some of which rely on you pecking at keys but compensate by trying to be predictive i.e. they suggest your current word completion to you after you've typed a few letters and then, sometimes, suggest which word you might want to type next.

Others, like the one I'm using now called TouchPal, use a technique you'll find on a lot of phone handsets using software called Swype where you keep your finger on the keyboard and drag it through the letters of the word you want in order. It's surprisingly accurate, I think because it analyses the whole pattern against a dictionary. That allows it to be very tolerant of poor dragging where you barely pass through some letters, if at all.

The bottom line however is that whichever software you use it's still painfully slow compared to a "proper" keyboard and you do have to watch out for errors (it just decided I'd entered "lettuce" rather than "keyboard" for example).

So I still can't see me abandoning by netbook, not unless I get an Asus Eee Pad Transformer or similar.

Tags: Android, toys Written 01/12/11

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