On June 25, 2014 Google unveiled a preview version of its new operating system. While there has been no official release date or name for the new Android version, they did provide a code name: Android “L.” Android L is the developer version of the O.S. so it’s nothing that Google is officially launching to your device just yet, but there are portions that you can try right now. One piece that I’m always interested in is the keyboard.
After installing the keyboard you should notice an immediate difference in the keyboard’s appearance. The colors are favor the pastel pallet (think Easter colors), which Google is referring to as “material design” elements. You’ll also notice that the keys are no longer individualized as in the previous iteration. Instead, they have no edges or defined borders.
Sticking with the remains of its predecessor, the Android L keyboard allows the user to swipe over each letter in order to spell a word. However, L takes this a step further by allowing you to type an entire sentence without lifting your finger. The technology used to operate this feat is none short of amazing. It does take a deal of skill to become consistently good at it. Believe me, it’s just as hard as it sounds and I consider myself to be a very good swipe-to-texter.
One major leap that Google has made with the new keyboard is with its prediction. With the current keyboard there are numerous times when the prediction of my next spelled word is unquestionably wrong. In fact, it will often not even predicted an upcoming word.
The Android L keyboard does a much better job at foreseeing what the next typed word will be. If ou see the word predicted correctly, just tap it and Google will predict the next word in the sentence. Eventually the operating system will learn your various phrases to the point that you will be able to continually tap the suggestions without having to type any words at all. This high prediction rate comes from Android looking at your Google services, such as Gmail and Google Plus, to learn your sentence structure.
As good as the keyboard is, there are some steps backward that were taken in its production. I will explain further in the next article. Or if you don’t feel like waiting you can just check out my video review at the beginning of this article.