tl;dr – Google has updated their Zhuyin keyboard. Finally adding swipe for English – yay! Go and install it on your Android device if you’re using this superior phonetic system.
A few years ago I wrote some thoughts on Google’s Zhuyin Keyboard. At the time I was exited to see that Google had released their own Zhuyin keyboard, but the lack of swipe input on the bundled English keyboard meant I couldn’t use it – If you’ve used to a swipe/gesture keyboard, you know there is no way you can ever go back to tapping out words.
I ended up using Touchpal, a very good Chinese developed keyboard that supports many types of Chinese input and also has a great English keyboard. Over last few months, though, Touchpal introduced some really annoying “features” such as a charging screen and daily summary. Things that a keyboard app should not be doing. After the most recent update changed the app permissions I took a minute to review them. The permissions list is long, I don’t think I have any privacy left after allowing that update.
This prompted me to give Google Zhuyin another look – just to check if they might have added the coveted swipe input for their English keyboard.
There is was, at the bottom of the list of new features!
– Support Android N
– Support Themes
– Support One-handed input mode
– Support gesture input and next-word prediction in the English keyboard
I’ve been using the new Google Zhuyin keyboard for a few days now and I’m enjoying it. There are a few tiny issues, like sometimes when switching to the English keyboard the swipe doesn’t work right away, it takes a second to start working. This doesn’t happen often, though. I also miss the delete feature from Touchpal – to delete a whole word you swipe left on the delete key instead of having to hold it down and deleting a character at a time.
Touchpal is still a great keyboard, and if you’re not bothered about the permissions or rummaging through settings to disable the new “features”, then I’d still recommend it. Though Google also offers a Pinyin keyboard among others, just search “Google keyboard” in the Play store.