Essential Android Tips and Tricks

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6 Ways to Type Faster in Android

4. Type With Swype

Swype lets you type without lifting your finger or tapping the on-screen keyboard.
If talking isn't your thing, you still have plenty of advanced input options for your Android phone. One of the most popular is Swype, a third-party app that replaces Android's standard keyboard.

With Swype, you type by gliding your finger across the screen in a continuous motion--no lifting and tapping involved. The app's creators claim that the system enables users to type 20 to 30 percent faster than they can with a standard on-screen keyboard configuration.

Swype now comes preinstalled on several Android devices, including the Droid X and the Droid 2. For everyone else, a free beta version of the program is available in limited doses. Sign up at Swype's Web site to get on the waiting list.

5. Accept SwiftKey's Predictions

SwiftKey offers suggestions for completing each word as you type it.
Our next Android input option is about as close to automated ESP as you can get on a smartphone. SwiftKey--my typing program of choice at the moment--is brilliant at predicting what the user wants to say.

Here's how it works: SwiftKey tracks what you're typing and pops up suggestions as you go along. To accept a suggestion, either touch it with your finger or by press the space bar. According to its creators, the program predicts users' next words correctly within two or fewer characters 80 percent of the time. And a third of the time, they say, it guesses the next word based on context alone -- before you even type a single letter of it.

SwiftKey is currently available as a free download in the Android Market.

6. Go Wild With BlindType

If you struggle to hit the right on-screen keys on your smartphone, this final Android input method may be just what you need. As its name suggests, BlindType is built to let you type as if you couldn't see your screen. The app's motto is, "Accuracy not required."

The program supposedly adjusts to your own "perceived keyboard" and figures out what you're trying to say, even when your fingers are in the wrong place. Sound strange? Check out this video of the app in action, and you'll see what it's all about.

Its creators expect BlindType to become available for Android sometime in "the near future," so put it on your mental back burner--and get ready to put the days of surgically precise smartphone typing behind you.

JR Raphael is a PCWorld contributing editor and the author of the Android Power blog. He's on both Twitter and Facebook; come say hello.

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