While I did discover the joys of swiping keyboard for mobile some time ago, it took me some digging around to figure out which one I want and how to set it up best. The idea of a swiping keyboard is that instead of pressing each key individually, you trace the keys you want in a swiping motion and the keyboard guesses what you’re trying to type. In my experience it’s not particularly accurate to start with, but once the keyboard learns your usual vocabulary, it gets smart enough. The benefit of the whole thing is of course that typing on mobile becomes faster and less annoying.
I was using the original Swype Keyboard for Android (for Apple here) for what seemed ages (in tech time), so I was surprised when the keyboard suddenly died on me, claiming that my trial period was over. As I refuse on principle to pay for apps—it’s not like I have nothing better to waste the money I don’t have on—I switched to what seems to be the second most common choice, the free Google Keyboard (apparently only available for Android at the moment).1 I don’t see any differences between the two in functionality, besides Swype being able to suggest emoticons for some words, which I think I can survive without.
My Google Keyboard was updated these days. Normally, updates tend to break things for me rather than improve them, but it wasn’t the case this time. It looks like the keyboard got a new option, which is to show key borders. I only came across this feature when I was reading through my favourite geek site and found a rave review of the key border feature. As I’m naturally suspicious, I certainly didn’t believe that it would make typing any better, but I tested it—and it does make a difference. I stand (auto)corrected. On a related theme, I found another article with tips for typing faster on iPhones, and most of them work on my Android too. I could be totally typing this on mobile (I’m not).
Besides UK and US English, Google Keyboard most likely comes in your language—it even comes in Czech. I find it less accurate for Czech, which might be given the nature of the language. Czech uses a scary amount of diacritics that often affect a change in meaning, but when typing on mobile, no one bothers to use it (not to mention that old devices, like my mother’s phone, can’t display a text message sent with diacritics), so it would be a bit too hard on the keyboard to expect that it will guess the constellation of diacritics that you have on mind at the moment. When swiping in Czech, I use the keyboard for entertainment—and to relearn Czech, as the keyboard suggests an array of curious bookish words that are not part of my active vocabulary.