The XDA forum is more of a place for hacks and Homebrews, but every once in a while, some really useful app pops up over there which does not require users to have a developer unlocked device. One such app, Abjad Keyboard, is an alternate keyboard (of sorts) for Windows Phone 7 that brings Arabic and Hebrew typing to the platform. The app is a welcome addition to the Marketplace, seeing as Arabic keyboard is number one on the list of new capabilities demanded by Windows Phone users (as you can see on WP7’s official feedback page). Read past the break for details.
First things first, installing this app won’t make an Arabic/Hebrew option pop up magically in the stock keyboard’s options and the app isn’t a keyboard replacement either. Abjad Keyboard functions as a separate app, but this shouldn’t prove to be much of an issue as an option within the app allows you to send whatever you have written as a text message straight away. Basically, it’s more of an alternate messaging client than an alternate keyboard.
In the Settings menu of the app, you can choose to enable feedback sound and vibration. The feedback sound is just like that of the native WP7 keyboard. From the same menu, you can enable any of the 3 available languages (the third being English).
The keyboard is designed to act just like the stock keyboard and you won’t see any difference in the interface. It even adheres to the current accent color and themes. There is a Google button at the bottom of the screen that takes you to Google’s homepage. The option seems to have been intended to copy all text typed within the app onto Google’s search bar but all it does currently is take you to the webpage.
The SMS and email buttons, on the other hand, seem to be working just fine. When you are finished typing in Abjad keyboard, press the SMS button and the whole text will automatically be transferred to the Messaging hub’s new message menu. If you typed in Arabic, the message will not appear correctly in the Messaging app’s text box, but don’t be alarmed; to the recipient, the text will appear as it should. Same is the case with sending emails. Copy and paste options had a few problems in the beginning but a recent update seems to have fixed that.
If you find the need to type in Arabic, Persian or Hebrew, Abjad Keyboard is a must-have. You can download the app for free from the Web Marketplace link provided below.