As with all other aspects of its mobile OS, Google has constantly been working hard to improve the stock Android keyboard app to bring it at par with some of the popular alternatives such as Swype, SwiftKey and TouchPal. However, there is still a long way to go before the stock Android keyboard offering can claim to be in the same league as the big names in the business. To make the competition even more intense, new candidates keep emerging on to the scene, trying to impress with their own products. Same is the case with Kii Keyboard – the latest entrant in the list of powerful and hyper-customizable third-party keyboards for Android. Currently in beta, Kii Keyboard combines the best features of some of the aforementioned names, from Swype-like gesture-based text input to Thumb Keyboard-style split key layout, thereby vying to become the ultimate Android keyboard.
The newly released beta variant of Kii Keyboard lets you play around with all its tools including the ones that are eventually going to be offered only in the Premium version of the app. Below is the complete list of features available in Kii Keyboard:
- Extremely user-friendly setup, offering quick and convenient configuration of the keyboard’s overall features.
- Support for over 30 different global languages, with the option to install custom add-on dictionaries, and integration with Android’s User Dictionary.
- Smart text auto-correct (at three different levels), auto-capitalization and next word prediction.
- Gesture-based typing and launching of various keyboard shortcuts, along with the option to see gesture trail.
- Dynamic floating preview to instantly see the predicted word.
- Support for text input via voice.
- Customizable sound settings.
- Option to select from 3 different split keyboard layouts including 5-row, 13-keys, and 18-keys (recommended for tablets).
- Gesture typing supported in split keyboard mode.
- Additional option to set separate keyboard layouts for both landscape and portrait orientation.
- Colored keyblocks for improved readability.
- Choice of settings custom color for the keys, prediction text and key previews.
- Additional top and bottom key rows support for landscape and portrait orientation for number keys and navigation keys respectively.
- Lots of attractive themes to choose from; 8 themes come built-in, and more can be downloaded.
- Option to set a custom keyboard background for both landscape and portrait orientation.
- Total control over individual key adjustments in terms of size, bottom spacing, key spacing and row spacing etc.
- Customizable keyboard fonts with option to assign a different font for the text in suggestion strip.You can also import fonts from TTF files or other apps.
- Support for iOS6 emoji.
- Individual keyboard layouts for numbers, navigation, smileys, signs and symbols.
- Control over several advanced settings such as navigation through volume keys, custom long-press timeout, key popup dismiss delay and automatic suggestions delay etc.
As with most keyboard replacement apps, Kii Keyboard needs to be first enabled and then set as your device’s default keyboard.
Having tested the app for around a couple of hours, we found it pretty smooth and effective at most of its features. Personally speaking, the killer feature of Kii Keyboard remains the availability of gesture-based input in split mode. The only thing we felt missing from the package is the support for learning custom words from various social networks, and the option to sync content with an online server to access your custom Kii Keyboard settings on any device.
Overall, Kii Keyboard is a welcome addition to the Play Store, providing Android users with a wider pool of custom keyboard options. With a bit of polishing and addition of suggested features, the app can certainly become an option worth considering. However, its popularity among Android fans will eventually be determined by the price at which all the premium goodies are going to be offered by the developers.
As for now, simply grab the public beta version of Kii Keyboard for free via the Play Store link provided below to try it on your Android device.
[via XDA Developers]