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May 4, 2017

What To Do When Your Android Keyboard Sucks

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

The onscreen keyboard has never impressed me, neither Apple’s nor Android’s version. I understand its necessity, but nothing beats a physical keyboard for typing on a mobile device.

Some early phones, specifically the popular Droid, featured physical keyboards, as shown in Figure 1. They were snap! Eventually the cost of all those moving parts became too great, so all smartphones today features onscreen keyboards, tablets too.

Figure 1. A Droid 4, the last of the Droid phones (or any Android phone) to feature a physical keyboard.

The frustration with typing on a flat surface is increased when you add all the touchscreen-typing assistants. Features such as Next Word Suggestion and Auto-Correction confound typing troubles by turning typos into unintended text.

The helpers aren’t helping!

Recently, I received an email from an Android tablet user who just couldn’t type. The email was difficult to read, which underscored the reader’s keyboard frustration.

Easy solution: Get a physical keyboard, which is what she did. She purchased a Bluetooth keyboard from Amazon. Her follow-up email was fine, minus all the typos, incorrect words, and misplaced punctuation.

If a Bluetooth keyboard is out of your reach, such as for an Android phone, then you can check a few items on the Settings screen to ensure that your Android isn’t helping you too much.

1. Open the Settings app.
2. Choose Language & Input.

Here the steps may change, depending on the device and Android version:

3a. For Android Nougat, choose Virtual Keyboard, then Gboard, which is the name of the Android keyboard.
3b. For older devices, choose the Google Keyboard.
3c. For some Samsung gizmos, choose the Samsung Keyboard.

4a. For the Gboard, choose the Text Correction category and disable both Next Word Suggestions and Auto-Correction.
4b. For the Samsung Keyboard, disable Predictive Text.

Other keyboards may have different settings, though I’m pretty sure that most of the old Google Keyboards have been updated to the Gboard. Otherwise, look for settings similar to Suggestions, Auto-Correction, and Predictive Text.

And please consider getting a physical keyboard, especially for an Android tablet. Those Bluetooth wireless keyboards the iPad people are so fond of work well with any Android device, though the keyboard may not attach to your Android the same way it does the iPad.

Brace yourself: Bluetooth tablet keyboards are not cheap! I paid $125 for my Pixel C keyboard cover. It was with heavy reluctance and stiffness of wallet that I did so. Then again, the physical keyboard now spoils me.

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