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Keyboards on the Motorola Droid X

July 21, 2010 9:04 am by

The Motorola Droid X comes with two keyboards, a multitouch keyboard and Swype.

Multitouch Keyboard

The multitouch keyboard on the Droid X is a custom one made by Motorola.  It looks identical to the stock Android keyboard, but has an added functionality, multitouch.  Having that functionality is a blessing on phones like the Droid X due to the fact that there is no hardware keyboard, and the demand for a soft keyboard that you can type fast on is a very high priority.  If you have typed on a regular soft keyboard before, then you know that it is difficult to type really fast because if you don’t let go of your first letter before tapping the second, you will either a) not register the 2nd letter b) not register the 1st letter c) register something completely different.  It is annoying because you have to make sure to fully lift your finger off the screen before typing the next letter.

With the multitouch keyboard, however, you can easily type with greater speed because it enables you to tap two different areas of the keyboard, and register two separate outputs.  It is definitely a major improvement to the stock android keyboard because you can type much faster by beginning to input the second letter without fully completing the previous letter.

Swype

Swype was created by the same inventor as T9, which is a common keyboard input for dumbphones that allows people to type much faster on a regular dial-9 keypad.  Swype is a revolutionary way of typing on a touchscreen phone.  You basically “swype” your fingers across the keyboard letters to get the words you desire.  It is a super fast way to type on the Droid X and I think that it has potential to make it a de facto standard across all touchscreen phones [except possibly the iPhone since it is “replicating” an added functionality already].

The only gripes I have with it is there are some words like “on” and “in” that are really close together on the keyboard and sometimes it recognizes the wrong one.  However, the algorithm behind it is really intelligent and sometimes when I’m in the middle of inputting a word, I forget where the next letter is so I kind of fumble around the keyboard until I remember, but Swype still figured out the correct word!  As a matter of fact, if you are skilled enough, you don’t even need to look at the keyboard when you swype because you can visualize the keyboard in your head and just swype across the screen, as long as you are close/near to the letters you intended, swype will still output the right word.

Conclusion

Personally, I favor Swype, it is much faster for me and I am pretty lazy, so I don’t want to be using my thumbs tapping everywhere on the phone, I just want to use a finger and drag it around the keyboard.  Like I mentioned, sometimes it is difficult for swype to recognize the difference between words such as “in” and “on”.  But besides that, there is hardly anything else to complain about.  Swype is my personal choice, but keeping the spirit of open-source in mind, the choice of which keyboard for you to use, is your own personal preference.

Filed under: Android,Reviews — Tags: , , — Jesse Chen @ 9:04 AM

About

Jesse is a software engineer at Facebook, who just graduated from UC Berkeley. Passionate about mobile technology and entrepreneurship, he started his own blog as a home for his tutorials, projects, and random thoughts. Follow him on Facebook to stay updated on his latest tutorials and projects.