There’s a swarm of iOS 8 keyboards coming, here’s some of the best

on

Apple has made some waves this week at WWDC, and one of the most interesting announcements was the addition of third party keyboards for iOS 8. Less than a week later, there’s already a pile of keyboard mockups and plenty of companies onboard to release keyboards before iOS 8 is released this Fall.

Replaceable keyboards aren’t a new concept if you’re an Android user, and as a result there are dozens of great options out there right now. Some focus on guessing what words you are going to type next, while others focus on trace algorithms so your finger never leaves the screen when typing. The big games right now are showing that your keyboard can beat the Guinness record for fastest typing or showing you how many button presses you have saved by using one app or another.

The truth is iOS users have a lot to look forward to, and app devs have a whole new battleground for to fight for your money on.

Minuum iOS

The guys at Minuum have been earning points for clever long before they had an actual product to sell. Their keyboard focuses on individual letter guessing instead of word guessing, which allows them to cram the keyboard into a much smaller space. The smaller overall space means more room for content on your screen, which is great to have.

As you learn to type on this keyboard, it learns from you and helps you make far fewer mistakes. Unfortunately you have to get passed that learning curve in order for the keyboard to actually feel comfortable, but Minuum makes that process as painless as possible.

The Android version of Minuum runs for $3.99, and according to the developer team the blue theme shown above is just one of several updates headed to the iOS version.

Fleksy is a fun, unique concept in a sea of competition fighting over who is the fastest and the most accurate. The keyboard has an incredibly minimalist design because it relies on gestures for a lot of things. In fact, a lot of these gestures got picked up in the virtual keyboard for BlackBerry, but lets not point fingers for now.

Fleksy has big spacious buttons and once you figure out all the gestures is genuinely fun to use. I’m not quite sure how it will pan out on the smaller iPhone screens, but since rumor has it there’s a larger device on the way maybe it’s not a big deal.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 2.33.33 PM

For many Android users, Swype was the first replaceable keyboard that was worth putting forth extra effort to get ahold of. The company used to include Swype in certain devices, and only made the app available as a beta for users, but after the company was bought by Nuance the tune changed a bit.

Now, you can put Swype on anything and the idea behind trace computing remains as powerful a concept as ever. This is going to be one of the more significant keyboards released for iOS, because the ability to trace with one hand is a big deal once you get the hang of it.

swiftkey-hits-ios-sort-of-v1

Curiously, SwitfKey already exists for iOS in one form. The SwiftKey Note app replaces the standard iOS keyboard, but only when using this one app. With iOS 8, SwiftKey will be released from its tiny prison and be allowed to save you keystrokes across the whole OS.

SwiftKey learns your sentence structure as you send messages, emails, and comments on websites to guess what your next word will be. The app keeps score of how many keystrokes it has saved you just in case you care, and will ultimately be the closest thing to the new iOS 8 keyboard in terms of functionality.

Fortunately for SwiftKey users, there’s also a nice Tablet UI and the Swype-ish SwiftKey Flow to choose from if you want some additional options.

adaptxt

Adaptxt is one of the lesser known keyboards for Android, but it’s going to make a big splash on iOS when the time comes. This keyboard focuses on being highly customizable with colors and layouts for the user to choose from, ranging from sleek and colorful to violently offensive use of neons and pinks. The company has been working hard to cooperate with the Android community at large, and will be able to offer something truly unique to those with iPhones looking to stand out in a crowd.

There’s no telling which is going to be the most popular, or what new keyboards are going to come from this new opening in the mobile market, but there’s no doubt that replaceable keyboards are going to be a big deal in iOS 8.

All we have to do now is either wait patiently for the updates to hit our existing hardware or suffer through broken betas while the OS prepares for final launch this Fall.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s