Android is a mobile operating system that thrives on customization. Ranging from changing the looks of your device’s home screen to altering the amount of items to be appearing on it, and tweaking your preferred system settings to resorting to an alternative system app, Google’s mobile operating system puts in control over modification of virtually the entire firmware. Same applies to custom keyboard replacement apps as well. While Swype is my all-time personal favorite among custom Android keyboard alternatives, there are certain solutions that have attracted many a user with their own set of features.Primarily meant for ConnectBot users yet a handy solution for users who wish to do extensive typing and/or command entry on their Android devices and particularly useful for tablet users, Hacker’s Keyboard is an onscreen input method for Android that simulates the conventional desktop computer keyboard. In addition to the conventional set of customizable options (settings button visibility, suggestions, auto-complete etc.), the IME comes packed with a few handy options of its own. These include altering the portrait and landscape height of the keyboard and the option to disable the full keyboard layout for portrait orientation.
The arrow keys are particularly useful for devices that do not sport a trackball for quickly moving the cursor through typed text. The Fn key reveals the function keys (F1 – F12), navigation keys (Home, End, Ins, Del, PgUp and PgDn) and the numpad. Did we forget to mention that Hacker’s Keyboard is multilingual? Of course not. The app supports many global languages, including Arabic, Bulgarian, Danish, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Lao, Norwegian, Persian , Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian and many more. Switching between the required languages is as simple as swiping across the keyboard and making your choice.
The IME is best used in landscape orientation, especially if you’re using it on a 3.7” screen Android smartphone. However, you won’t have to worry about switching back and forth between the default input method and Hacker’s Keyboard while shifting orientation. Simply uncheck the Full keyboard in portrait mode option from within the IME’s settings menu and the keyboard will automatically change its layout to that of the default gingerbread keyboard upon switching to portrait mode.
Hacker’s Keyboard is based on the AOSP Gingerbread soft keyboard. You can grab the IME for free from the Android Market via the provided link code.