Appolicious powers Verizon Educational Tools

Finally, a keyboard that really works

by Tim McLain

My name is Tim, and I have an app problem. That is, I'm prone to try every on-screen keyboard replacement application that pops up in the Android marketplace to see if it does the job better than the stock offering.

After many months of research, I'm back at square one. The standard keyboard is back as my default, and I find it to work just fine. My brief flings with SwiftKey (now out of beta, and demanding payment), Swype, Better Keyboard and ThickButtons, all ended tragically after a few days or weeks.

That was, of course, until I was asked to give SlideIT Keyboard a go. Coming in at $8.34 (or 5.99 euros), this is the most expensive app of its kind.

Sporting many of the same features and functions as Swype, its free competitor, I installed it with an open mind, prepared for anything. After a solid day of working with it, writing most of this review, and posting several long status updates to Facebook, I'm hooked.

Unlike Swype, I find SlideIT to give you just enough leeway in your swiping gestures to correctly guess your word nearly every time. Gone are the days of hunting and pecking my fat fingers across an array of too-small letters, numbers and symbols. Now, I drag my finger from letter to letter, and watch each word appear, quickly and easily.

Honestly, it's dramatically increased the usability of my phone as a platform for writing, and changed the way I use the device on a daily basis. That said, it could use some updates to allow users to skin the app, fatten up the keys a bit, and address some user reports suggesting the app could use tweaking to increase successful word recognition.

In my experience, the stock skin is perfectly serviceable, while the accuracy rate is spot-on. Still, like with all on-screen keyboards, you'll need to proof your words as you go, to be sure you don't compose bizarre messages with incorrect words. It's a small price to pay, and you'll spend much less time typing on your Droid with SlideIT installed.