We cover a lot of app news here on Android Community, but sometimes we like to share the apps that we use day-in and day-out. The apps that we rely on, are entertained by or that just make life easier. This week we're featuring my personal favorite in the wide field of Android virtual keyboards, Thumb Keyboard.
Thumb Keyboard doesn't have any fancy gimmicks to separate it from the pack: no super predictive text engine, no Swype-style line entry, no fancy animations. What it does have is rock-solid reliability and enough customization to make and tweaker drool. The amount of settings and adjustments you can set manually is staggering, and the most important of these is the layout choice.
The app features seven different pre-defined key layouts that can be selected on any device, preconfigured for smartphones and various tablet sizes. The keys move around the virtual keyboard for the best thumb typing experience - for example, in tablet mode, the letter keys are spaced for easy reach in landscape mode, and the middle space fills with a dedicated number pad. At least one of the choices will absolutely suit you, whether you use one hand, two hands or a hunt-and-peck style. You can even switch layouts depending upon whether you're in landscape or portrait mode.
You want themes? Thumb Keyboard's got you covered. There's 29 included themes to please lovers of nearly every color, plus themes designed to integrate with the various manufacturer Android skins out there. Default colors and styles for Froyo, Gingerbread and Honeycomb are included, plus a spiffy new Ice Cream Sandwich theme. You can adjust the font and size of the keys manually, making the keys themselves much easier to read on tablets.Cursor keys are included if you want them, making text selection a lot simpler.
But the greatest strength of Thumb Keyboard lies in its customization options. Nearly every conceivable setting is covered, from vibration to long-press duration to voice input controls. You can even manually re-assign the long-press functions of every single key. You could spend hours tweaking the app to be exactly what you want - and for a certain kind of Android user, such as yours truly, that's highly desirable.
Thumb Keyboard isn't free, but at $2.39 at the time of writing it's well worth the price. Note that the app will work equally well on phones and tablets with a single purchase, a very economical choice for those with multiple devices. For all the Android phones and tablets that I go through, I try the native keyboard, but eventually come back to Thumb Keyboard every time. I can't think of higher praise than that. Check it out in the Android Market now.