Geek Beat: Alternative Keyboards for iPhones

New alternative keyboards for iOS were the subject of this week’s “Geek Beat” segment for the Sunrise morning news show on Hawaii News Now. Smartphone keyboards are a pretty esoteric topic, nor particularly easy to install, but because of their system-level, cross-application nature, they offer a significant array of new features across your device. And two of the three keyboards come from tech giants and frequent Apple rivals Google and Microsoft.

We talked about:

  • Google’s GBoard: “Search and send information, GIFs, emojis and more, right from your keyboard.”
  • Microsoft’s Word Flow: “A blazing fast keyboard that comes with free customization options and includes Arc mode for easy, one-handed typing.”
  • Slash Keyboard: “A super-charged keyboard that makes it easy to share anything, without switching apps.”

I still have both GBoard and Word Flow installed on my iPhone, GBoard because it’s clean and fast and makes tossing funny GIFs into conversations easy, and WordFlow for its Swype-style support and oddly usable “Arc” layout for one-thumb typing (I find the iPhone 6S Plus ludicrously large). I like the idea of Slash Keyboard (pitched as a “command line for smartphones”), but just couldn’t get into it.

Note that this week’s “Geek Beat” was hosted by Steve Uyehara, as Dan Cooke is out on paternity leave. We might try to feature apps for new parents next time.

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