Most of the android phones comes with the onscreen keyboard except the phones which come with the QWERTY external keypad. With the help of this users can type text messages in any app like Text Messaging, Gmail, Google Talk or any other apps which needs the users to enter any text.
In some apps and sections, the keyboard automatically opens and in a few you need to click on the blank area of text to activate the keyboard. Every android phone has its own interface, and the way the keyboard works differs from one another.
One of the most simplest keyboard is TouchWiz UI in the Samsung Galaxy devices with the latest Operating System Version. It has an extra line of numbers along with the qwerty arranged alphabets in the keyboard.If you want to enter the text in other language then you need to touch the space key, or a dedicated key which is present adjacent to the space key.
If you want to open the keyboard inner pages having the numbers, other symbols and characters then you need to press the “?123″ key which is present in the left corner of the android keyboard. Several characters and symbols are arranged in 2-3 pages; at the last page of the keyboard it has the symbols and characters which combines to form the smileys or emoticons for text messaging or chats.
Eventhough separate options are available for smileys and emoticons, one could easily use them in the keyboard in a faster way if they know the right combinations.
Various Settings and Advanced Features of Android Keyboard:
Usually, the Samsung Android phones based on the TouchWiz UI would have the following settings one could play around with for a better keyboard typing experience.
1. Auto-full stop:
Any sentence would end with a full stop, but searching for the same and hitting it would be a tough task for a few, and that’s where the Auto-full stop option would come into place. This feature would recognize where the line ends and would place full stop there. And in few android phones hitting the space bar twice would result in a full stop.
2. Portrait Keypad Types:
Several types of keyboards are available for android users. Yes that may be QWERTY keypad or 3×4 keypad where the traditional arrangement of keys are present. Or else the Handwriting boxes where you draw a word as if you are writing on a note, and the phone tries to recognize the handwritten text. Apart from these three types of keypad, one of the most advanced feature of typing is the Swype method. But this method depends on the type of device and the android version you are using.
3. XT9 Predictive Text input:
It is normally available in the basic phones too. If you are using a Standard English to type the text message, then the keyboard tries to recognize and guesses the word while you are typing, and if it shows the correct word what you are trying to type then you could simply hit the space bar to select the word and write the next word.
The other settings in the android phone keyboard include keypad sweeping, character preview, auto capitalization (where the first character after a full stop is capitalized automatically), option to disable or enable the voice input where the text-to-speech input words.
To make the users to understand what and how the android keyboard in their particular device works, there is a tutorial in the Settings section of every android phone; where all the basic tips on entering the text is given. If you are newbie to the android phone then you can make use of this tutorial for better understanding.
Samsung Galaxy Note II Keyboard:
Every android smartphone differ with one another in every small aspect and the keyboard of that is always enhanced and made better. Likewise, in the Samsung Galaxy Note II smartphone the keyboard settings is changed very much. In that, the numbers will also appear in the same screen along with the alphabets. No need to go to the options and opening the inner sections of keyboard. This might be coming in the larger screen devices which can accommodate more keyboard area.
In the latest updated operating system versions, you would see the numbers on the top, common in all the keyboard pages including the alphabet and symbol pages, unlike in the previous versions where the numbers were in the inner symbol pages. In the bottom line of the keys, there is a shortcut key to open the handwriting box, where you enter the text in your handwriting, and the phone recognizes it.
Swype vs Continuous input:
The continuous input totally resembles the Swype. It is usually available in the devices where Swype functionality is not found. Using this you can continuously swype the finger over various alphabets to make a word.
Move cursor while typing text:
Usually the typing cursor is located at the end of the typing text and if you want to move the cursor to any particular place then you need to hold the cursor or the text area continuously for more than a second. It would bring out two handles so as to select any particular text area.Both the cursor handles can be moved to anywhere and once done with the selection of the text, the user can choose whether to cut/copy the text.
So, once you copied the text and you want to paste it on somewhere then you need to long-press the text field, and it would show you the option to paste the text. The copied text stays in the clipboard until the next text is copied.
Opening the Keyboard Settings:
Apart from what you can see directly on the Android keyboard, there are quite a few settings that you can change. To go to the settings, you need to check for the Wrench icon on one of the keys in the bottom line, or hit the menu key on the phone to open the onscreen menu, which would have the shortcut to go to the Android keyboard settings.
Keyboard in Motorola Android Phones:
The Motorola keyboard setting is somewhat differ from other android phones. In this device, the language settings can be opened by long pressing the Z key instead of going to the Settings. Above the QWERTY keyboard, there are the ^ v < > arrows which would help in navigating the cursor to the destination place in the particular text if you wish not to hold the cursor and move it.
Android Keyboard External Apps:
Several external apps such as Swiftkey, Go Keyboard, SlideIT keyboard, Smart Keyboard Pro, TouchPal etc are available through the Google Play Store for the android users to get a better experience and easier typing where a few of which would even predict the next words based on the sentence you are forming. A few of them have fully featured paid versions too, and they are quite worth the price when you are a frequent user of Messaging or Text chat apps.