Third Party keyboards have been a mainstay of the Android app eco-system since Android was in its infancy. With the release of the Google Keyboard, and the subsequent updates which brought gesture typing, emoji and introducing personalised spelling suggestions, the Google Keyboard somehow has become good enough to use up against the big guns in the keyboard world. So, what’s new in the Google Keyboard in Android Lollipop?
There’s no massive changes in the Android Lollipop keyboard, you still get the various keyboard types QWERTY, QWERTZ, AZERTY, Dvorak and Colemak layouts are still available, although they’ve now been joined by ‘PC’ – PC has been available via hack, but it’s now front and centre as an option. These layouts add functionality for various people and nationalities who don’t use the QWERTY layout we’re mostly used to here – and of late Google has been all about including more people.
Where the most obvious changes to the Android Lollipop keyboard will be found are in the themes. The updated Google Keyboard allows you to switch Themes, offering Material Light and Dark, as well as Holo White and Blue. Having four options would lend itself to the thought that Google could include more themes down the track. I mean, we all like choice right?
Also of note is the spacebar. Google now constantly reminds you which language you have selected currently by putting the language you’re using in greyed out text on the spacebar. In the screenshots above the language is English, but this changes to Spanish, Afrikaans etc. when you select them.
The Google Keyboard sees a number of changes to Emoji. The 250 new Emoji announced by the Unicode consortium back in June haven’t been included yet – the Man In Business Suit Levitating is still MIA – but some of the emoji have been either refined or replaced. The one which should bring about the most joy is the one which required a specific bug report in the Google Code tracker, the Santa Emoji is now jolly – not only that, the Devil and Snowman Emoji are also no longer angry/sad :
There’s been quite a few changes in the Emoji on Lollipop. Most of the ‘real’ looking emoji have been swapped out for blobby looking Android style emoji giving a more uniform look to the array of emoji available. We’ve done up a chart of all the changed emoji in Lollipop compared to Kitkat, with the Lollipop emoji above and the KitKat emoji below.
When Google announced Lollipop, they announced support for 15 new languages, taking the total number of languages supported to 68. The new lanugages announced include :
For the most part the languages are included in the Developer preview, but from the list of languages there’s three missing : Burmese, Chinese (Hong Kong) and Sinhala. These should be included in the final version that’s pushed out to devices.
There’s not much more to say about the Lollipop keyboard – love it or hate it, it’s a pretty good keyboard and Google keeps throwing more resources and functionality into it.
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