We’re going to have to get used to this, aren't we? By “this” we mean native Android L apps being extracted from Google's developer preview shared to the Android-using world for “testing”. One of those apps is Android L's keyboard, recently extracted from a system dump and made available by flashing it onto your rooted device. And what do you know, now it has also arrived via an apk installer for non-rooted devices. (yay!)
One of Android L’s hot points from the Google I/O keynote was its “Material Design” – which is basically a very nice effort to tighten up the interface, and a new lighter color palette to promote the youthful and fast-paced nature of the Android ecosystem. The redesigned keyboard for Android L is part of this whole scheme and was recently extracted from a system dump for those who were “curious” about what makes Android L’s apps tick. It was also put up for download as a flashable app that one could integrate into his Android device via custom recovery at XDA.
This installable apk though was given to the world by senior XDA member “asdfzz” and probably the best thing about it is that it can now be installed to non-rooted devices. Installation is a breeze – just uninstall the Google keyboard, if you have previously installed the one from the Play Store, and then install the downloaded APK. There is one more setting to change after the APK installation. You have to go to Google Keyboard settings > Advanced Settings, change the "Color scheme" to "Material". Now you can take a peek at the redesigned keyboard and see if it’s up to scratch.
The thread starter said that he “modded” the keyboard himself and tested it on a non-rooted Moto G running Android 4.4.2 Kitkat. There is a caveat though – there almost always is when dealing with ported apps – and it is that the keyboard cannot be used on a stock Nexus device with no root, as the keyboard app in those devices are system apps and there is no way of uninstalling it.
DOWNLOAD: Android L keyboard APK