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Here are the best keyboards for Android

Derek Walter | April 6, 2016
With so many good software keyboards out there, you can select one that truly matches your preferred style.

google keyboard
Google Keyboard uses, you guessed it, characteristics from your Google account to learn your typing style.

There’s something else that may kick Google in the pants when it comes to going with a stronger keyboard game: Microsoft recently acquired SwiftKey. Google’s not about to let the best keyboard on Android be run by its rival, so I expect the prediction and gesture typing capabilities (which are good, but not as strong as Swype) to get even better.

A final rumor worth paying attention to: that Google is building a keyboard for the iPhone. The move makes a lot of sense. The company could tie in Google search services directly to the keyboard. And your typing preferences could go cross-platform, whereas right now they’re restricted to Android.

Google Keyboard could also use some more themes, as right now you’re stuck between two Material design builds or an old Holo look.

Swype: still the best at gesture typing

Swype has its dedicated fans, and with good reason. There isn’t a better keyboard out there if you want to type with gestures.

I’ve never been a particular fan of this method. I still find myself having to correct words that Swype and other keyboards that use this approach get wrong. But keyboards are very personal, and if you slide your finger quickly through common enough words and phrases you’ll be able to text, email, or take notes amazingly fast.

Swype is still the king when it comes to gesture typing on your smartphone.

Also, if you think Swype is solely about gesture typing, then give it another look. The app has partnered with Dragon for speech recognition, which means you can speak what you want to say. I find Google’s voice capabilities to be better, but Dragon is a big leader in language research so you’ll still be in good hands. Plus, Swype also offers many themes if you want to customize the look, including a some Material Design options that look right at home in the world of Android.

Innovation and design: Fleksy

Even though it’s not my first choice, I do really like Fleksy. The design stands out, with huge letters and very bright colors that give a refreshing pop to your phone’s design if it’s too stodgy and business-like.

But the big claim to fame behind Fleksy is in how you can use swipe-gestures to do simple functions like correcting a word, going back, or spacing ahead. It’s a little weird at first, but if you get into a rhythm and like this method it can be a really fast way to type.


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