As you should know by know, Google has unveiled the next generation Android platform along with the Nexus S. One of the most conspicuous features about the upcoming Android version is its new-look keyboard. If you are one of those dying to check out this new Android keyboard on your older machines, then follow the instructions below.
First and foremost, remember that you will need a rooted Android device to carry out these instructions. You may know this, but it is our duty to warn you that this is a pretty risky process where you could end up bricking your device. Also, some functionalities like autocorrect may not function properly. Thirdly, this process needs you to have Android 2.2 installed. If it is an older version of OS, sorry this feature may not work on your phone.
If you are already rooted and have taken care of the warnings, then follow these steps below.
Step 1 : Create a backup of your phone
Step 2 : Click here and download the ZIP file
Step 3 : Plug your phone to the computer
Step 4 : Copy the downloaded file on to the root of your SD card and install it in the same way you would install themes
Step 5 : If you are a user of Droid X or Droid 2, then navigate to Clockwork -> Mounts and Storage -> Mount System and then back to install the ZIP file from your SD card
Step 6 : Reboot your Android phone. Under the Input method, select Android Keyboard.
You are done. You can use this new look keyboard on your FroYo device. Check out the video below for a Android 2.3 keyboard demo.
Google could be taking the wraps off its Chrome OS netbook come tuesday. And apart from the software and back-end hardware that will be the focus of discussion, one another aspect that is already doing the rounds is a slightly refurbished keyboard.
According to reports, the keyboard for the upcoming Google Chrome OS netbook could come with a dedicated button for Google search. This button is expected to replace the CAPS-lock key on the left-hand side of the keyboard. While it is not clear, it is possible that the Caps-lock function could now be invoked by using the Shift+Search combination.
Apart from the search button, another change in the keyboard layout that we have noticed is the forward and backward button on top of the keyboard along with several other control functions. These are located at the position where you normally have the function keys. While it may sound like simply reinventing the wheel, Google could be simplifying internet surfing by offering these controls on the keyboard thus making the process all the more mouse-free.
Users on the Android 2.2 platform will today get a choice to try out a new keyboard layout called 8pen. 8pen is developed by 3qubits and aims to change the fundamental way in which users type on touchscreen mobile devices. It is pretty hard to explain how 8pen works. Here is a video demo of the application
While this is certainly cool, I have my doubts over the adoption of such a drastically different feature. Despite the reasons behind the QWERTY keyboard coming into vogue, there is no denying that this is the most preferred form of text input on keyboards or touchscreen devices. While earlier improvisations like Swype have seen a good adoption rate, it needs to be noted that these implementations built upon the basic QWERTY keyboard. 8pen on the other hand brings an entirely new perspective. While it will garner its own set of fans, it is too unlikely for 8pen to gain mass adoption. What do you think?
Microsoft could be working on a new kind of physical keyboard that will render different set of keys depending on the application that the user is working on. For example, a user who wants to play a two-player racing game does not need to use the W-A-S-D set of keys to navigate. Instead, these keys could dynamically change to display the various arrows on launching the gaming application. Similarly, the keys on the keyboard can also suitably change when the user launches a word processing document or a spreadsheet.
These innovations are described in a patent application filed by Microsoft in April last year which has been made public only today. In the application, Microsoft also notes that these keys shall be touch-sensitive in order to enable easy toggling between the various display alternatives. For instance, to change the display of a key from “q” to “Q”, the user may simply touch the key and gesture a slide-up (as shown in the picture below).
The patent application also describes the way such a keyboard will operate. The application notes,
“A light source 210 may be disposed within body 202 of adaptive input device 200. A light delivery system 212 may be positioned optically between light source 210 and a liquid crystal display 218 to deliver light produced by light source 210 to liquid crystal display 218. Light provided by light source 210 may be internally reflected within the optical waveguide. A reflective surface 214 may direct the light provided by light source 210, including the internally reflected light, through light exit surface 240 of the optical waveguide to a light input surface 242 of liquid crystal display 218.
The liquid crystal display 218 is configured to receive and dynamically modulate light produced by light source 210 to create a plurality of display images that are respectively projected onto the plurality of depressible keys, touch regions, or background areas (i.e., key images, touch images and/or background images). “
I’m not sure how popular such a keyboard shall be compared to the present day ones. Nevertheless, this is an interesting technology that is worth keeping track of. You can check out the USPTO documents by clicking here.
Update: Nick Eaton from SeattlePi points me to this link about Microsoft’s Adaptive Keyboard. Check out a video demo of this interesting product.