One of the most noticeable changes in Google Android 2.3 is a new and improved keyboard which features better spacing between the keys, more feedback as you’re typing, thanks to pop-up characters that make it easy to see what button you just slapped your finger over, and the ability to type numbers andd special characters by long-pressing on a key.

If you don’t feel like waiting for your phone maker to release Android 2.3 for your device to use the new keyboard, you may not have to. Xda-developers forum member hotaru has posted two installer files that should let you run the keyboard on most Android 2.1 or Android 2.2 devices.

The advantage of using these new installers over previous methods is that you can install the new Gingerbread keyboard without erasing your standard keyboard — making it easy to switch back to the older keyboard if you decide you’re not ready for a change (or if you’d rather save a few MB of disk space). You also don’t need to root your phone to install the keyboard using the APK installer files.

In order to install the keyboard, download the appropriate APK file for your device from the xda-developers forum, then copy it the root directory of your SD card. Use a file explorer or other application to locate the file on your device and tap it to start the installation process.

Then go to your phone’s Setting menu and check the box next to Gingerbread Keyboard in the Language and Keyboard area.

The last step is to actually open a text box (in a web browser, email message, IM, or anywhere else), and either long-press on the text box or on the 123 icon on your standard keyboard to bring up a box that says “Input method.” From there, just select the keyboard you want to use and you can switch back and forth between your default keyboard and the Gingerbread keyboard.

You can find a few more screenshots after the break.

via Android Police

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Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing.He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...