Type Effortlessly & Quickly In Multiple Languages With SlideIT [Android 1.5+]

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image139   Type Effortlessly & Quickly In Multiple Languages With SlideIT [Android 1.5+]Tapping out a text message on a touchscreen is not my idea of a good time. Annoying typos happen, and even once you gain some skill, the process still feels irritating. I first heard about sliding keyboards via the much-hyped Swype keyboard. But Swype seems to be eternally in Beta, and was difficult to get a hold of. So I set out to find a good sliding keyboard that I could actually install and use, and I found SlideIT.

This was about a year ago, and I’ve been using it ever since as my default keyboard in Android. It’s a paid app, and at $6.44 it’s not cheap for an Android app. But it’s one of the absolute best keyboards for Android, and it keeps getting better with the recently-released version 4. If you have an Android device and are not using a sliding keyboard, here are some of the great things about sliding keyboards in general, and SlideIT specifically.

The Basic Concept

image140   Type Effortlessly & Quickly In Multiple Languages With SlideIT [Android 1.5+]

With a sliding keyboard, you don’t tap out your letters one by one. You start by tapping the first letter of the word you’re trying to write (say, “keyboard” which is why you see the letter K depressed in the screenshot above), and then you drag your finger across the other keys for the word you’re trying to type. You’re basically tracing over the path of where you want to tap. The keyboard is (hopefully) smart enough to figure what it is you’re trying to type.

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It sounds iffy at first, but it is remarkably accurate, and is a really fast way to type.

SlideIT Features

There are a few features I like about SlideIT in particular. First is the extensive language support. It not only supports English and other major languages, but also niche languages such as Hebrew, Turkish, and Icelandic. Even in English, it supports multiple keyboard layouts, such as Dvorak and the awesome Colemak (which I use on my PC).

Another handy SlideIT feature is that it can be resized. Here are two screenshots side-by-side, showing the same keyboard at its maximum and minimum size:

image141   Type Effortlessly & Quickly In Multiple Languages With SlideIT [Android 1.5+] image142   Type Effortlessly & Quickly In Multiple Languages With SlideIT [Android 1.5+]


Quite a difference, right? Also, if you don’t like the black look, you can go for one of several skins. Here’s a skin called Teal Blue:

image143   Type Effortlessly & Quickly In Multiple Languages With SlideIT [Android 1.5+]

Skin support is new for version 4, and Dasur (the developer) already put out a number of lovely skins.

Cons & Alternatives

After trying out Swype, I’m really not sure it’s better than SlideIT in any particular way. SlideIT is easier to get, supports more languages, and its word detection algorithm feels just as robust.

One sliding keyboard that does challenge SlideIT is the excellent FlexT9 by Nuance, which makes the NaturallySpeaking dictation program. FlexT9 has sliding input in English, but it also boasts amazing speech recognition, better than Google’s own. If you mainly (or only) use your device in English, FlexT9 is one fantastic keyboard you should try before settling on one sliding keyboard. I will be giving it a more complete review soon.

Trying SlideIT Out

If you just want to take SlideIT for a spin, you don’t have to shell out $6.44. There’s a Lite version you can try out for free. Do be sure to take the time and tweak some of its options (accessible via Settings > Language and Keyboard > SlideIT Keyboard. If you use any language other than English, to be sure to give SlideIT a spin – it can transform your Android typing experience.

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