Android Central

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.

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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. 

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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. 


Reader comments

Stock keyboard not cutting it on the Nexus 7? Why not try out the ASUS keyboard instead


Initially, I thought this was a clever way of putting it out there that Asus has released their official Bluetooth keyboard. Guess not!

I would like to see a piece comparing the current sliding keyboards out there, I'm currently using SlideIT and I think that it is pretty good, but would like to see a comparison with other options available in the market.

As Jays2Kings says, can someone upload an apk of this? I am running a custom rom and don't have that option in titanium backup. Thanks!

I've defrosted the keyboard and converted it to a user app but now every time I try to type, I get the "ASUS Keyboard has stopped unexpectedly". Wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that I'm on 4.1.2?

I agree it's the best keyboard to type with on my nexus 7. My only problem with it is that it does not automatically fix missed space typos; for example something like "andbthen." Have they updated to address this yet? Seems all the other mainstream keyboards can do this now.

I think this keyboard is mainly for traditional chinese user (Taiwan & Hong kong) typing/handwriting

As google still have not offical keyboard support on it(in play store google only release Korea, Japanese & Simplified Chinese ime)

but this keyboard still lack of support Hong kong chinese words like 埗, 着, etc

Hope google can release offical tranditional chinese ime later

There is no doubt that this keyboard is cool. However, I would like to recommend one more choice. The more choices, the better for us. It's an Aluminum Case with Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard for Google Nexus 7 which serves as a best partner for my Nexus 7 in many ways.It is sold at $39.99 only. Hope my recommendation helps.