For touchscreen smartphones and tablets, one thing that gives us quite a lot of trouble is data entry. If you are used to speed typing with hardware keyboards common to the older Blackberry and Nokia models, you would agree with me that touchscreen input could be quite a drag at times. Now however there are alternative keyboards for your Android touchscreen phones and tablets and here is a list of the best android keyboards you can choose from.
For Windows Touch users, read Best keyboard for Windows toucscreens
Android Stock keyboard (free)
Though the Android stock keyboard varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, the mostly used keyboard is the Touch-To-Type keyboard. Some more recent OEMs have integrated swipe capabilities to their keyboards, making it easier to type. Swype capabilities are only included in Android 4.2 and later.
It is not available in Google Play Store (of course not, since it should be integrated in your stock ROM)
Swype (free trial, premium version $3.99)
Has the Guinness World Record for Fastest Time to Type a Text Message (as claimed by the developer), Swype enables you to backup your personal dictionary to the cloud and synchronize it with any Android device where Swype is installed. Swype can predict commonly used words and phrases and it supports more than 71 downloadable languages. It has voice recognition features too, and works perfectly with Tablets as well. Personally, it works well for me.
TouchPal X (free)
Another personal favourite of mine, this has great features too, like emoji support, Sentence gesture where you can swipe full sentences and not just words. TouchPal X also has cloud backup of custom user dictionary, support for more than 70 languages, multiple themes, and more.
Best of all, it is FREE. I would personally recommend this if you want a free alternative android keyboard. Download it from the Google Play Store
Another great keyboard. It supports a variety of themes, like GO keyboard, CyanogemMod 10, etc. It also has next word predictions and emoji support, and it supports multiple keyboard layouts. It even allows you to use a custom background for your keyboard
It is also FREE. Download it from the Google Play Store
Slide IT (free)
One interesting thing about this keyboard, apart from its gesture swipe capability (which they all have anyway) is the ability to customise your shortcuts. It also includes a variety of layouts and supports non-conventional layouts like DVORAK, AZERTY etc.
And it is free. You can download it from the Google Play Store
Swiftkey (free trial, premium $4.95)
Probably the most expensive in this list (I wonder why). It boasts of multilingual support, multiple layouts, cloud synchronization and more. Added is also the ability to learn not just your words, but you you use them together. It pretty intelligent too.
Truth be told, once you start using alternative android keyboards, there is no going back. Give these 5 alternative keyboards a trial and vote your best Android keyboard below. You can log in with your Facebook, Twitter, or Google account to vote