One of the most common questions I receive from readers is in regards to the available text input options on the latest Google Android devices. Since I just recently picked up the Sprint EVO 4G device I decided to put together the short video below that takes a look at some available options, including the various forms of the HTC keyboard and Swype.
The HTC EVO 4G is a device with HTC Sense and thus comes with the HTC keyboard rather than the default Google Android keyboard. The default Android keyboard is better on Android 2.1 and 2.2 devices than it was before, but I personally still much prefer the HTC keyboard. I have the default Android keyboard on my Google Nexus One, but do not like that you need to tap the ?123 button to switch to alternate characters. The only punctuation on the main keyboard view is a period so it is not very convenient.
The full QWERTY version of the HTC keyboard includes keys for a period, backslash, and .COM with the ability to simply tap and hold on almost every single key to enter the alternate character. Thus, you can spend most all of your time right in the main keyboard without having to tap the 12# key to view other keyboards. However, when you do you will see two more keyboards with the second one even including nine emoticon keys for quick entry during text messaging or email.
I also find the HTC keyboard to do a great job at predictive text so I can get away with enter just a couple of characters before watching the word appear, tapping the space bar, and then moving on to the next word. Since the EVO 4G does not have a trackball or trackpad you will also find four directional arrows on the HTC keyboard for fine placement of the cursor in text fields.
The EVO 4G with HTC Sense also includes phone keypad and compact QWERTY keyboard options that both switch to the full QWERTY keyboard in landscape orientation.
I also loaded up a beta of Swype on the EVO 4G. This alternative keyboard ships on the T-Mobile HTC HD2 and new T-Mobile myTouch 3G Slide, but unfortunately is not available to download and install from the Android Market. I do not know if it ever will be available for installation on any Android device, but sure wish it would since I find it makes text entry quite easy and fast after a slight bit of practice. I still keep going back to the default full QWERTY HTC keyboard though because of the easy access to alternate characters.
What is your favorite text entry method on your Google Android device?