One of the greatest positives about the Android platform, is choice. Hardware, software, apps, theres something for everybody out there somewhere. Customizing your user experience to meet your every need is possible in so many different ways, including something that's used all the time. The keyboard. Like Twitter clients, there's a keyboard out there to suit everyone.
So, let's focus a little. In particular, on the Google Nexus 7. A pure, un-tampered, vanilla Jelly Bean experience straight from the depths of Mountain View itself. The stock Jelly Bean keyboard is OK, some would argue it's better than OK. For some of us though -- on the Nexus 7 in particular -- the stock keyboard is nothing but frustrating. But, that's cool, we can change it. And, it looks like there's an alternative built right into the Nexus 7 from ASUS, that's possibly worth a look before handing over some of your dollars to buy a replacement, such as the ever impressive SwiftKey. The one caveat -- you may need to be rooted to try it out. Now that's out of the way, click on past the break and we'll show you how to find it.
This may not apply to everyone's device, but it did on ours, so it's how we'll tell the tale. You may -- may -- just be able to select the ASUS Keyboard from Settings>Language & Input. But, on our Nexus 7 the app was disabled, frozen, tucked away, however you wish to refer to it. So, to get at it and use it, we have to enable it. With root, it's a simple process. Our tool of choice, Titanium Backup. Upon opening Titanium Backup, you're going to want the "Backup/Restore" tab, and once opened look for one of the purple highlighted bars. This will be the ASUS Keyboard application. The highlight indicates it's frozen.
Tapping on the highlight will open up the window we see here, and to activate the keyboard simply hit "Defrost!" Voila. Next time you head into the Settings>Language & Input menu, a new selection will be visible titled ASUS Keyboard. Sadly, next time you reboot your Nexus 7, the app will become re-frozen by default. The trick is to convert it to a user app, that way when you do reboot, you don't lose your selection. This can be achieved by long pressing on the app in the same "Backup/Restore" tab, and tapping on the button labelled "convert to user app." Simple.
So, what about the keyboard itself then. Any good? Well, like many applications you'll need to try it out to see if it fits for you. Touch response is OK, but it does have a habit of ignoring some screen taps, in our experience recognising the space bar seemed to be the worst area. It does have a row of numbers up top though, which is pretty useful. The party piece is the Swype-eque capabilities of the keyboard. In this capacity it's pretty good. Accuracy seems to be pretty much on the money, and on a nice, big screen like the Nexus 7, typing in this way was actually a pleasurable experience. This coming from someone who can't abide such keyboards on a smartphone screen.
Either way, give it a try for yourselves. There's bound to be mixed feelings on this one, so why not hit us up in the comments below and give us yours.
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