The key new feature in the latest version of TouchPal is something the company calls Curve… although another prominent app maker calls it Swype. Basically TouchPal’s Curve lets you enter words by dragging a finger from letter to letter on the screen without first lifting your fingertip from the screen.
Since TouchPal uses predictive text to determine which word you likely meant to type, the app is pretty accurate — and offers suggestions in case the wrong word is chosen automatically. The recommendations also show up if you enter words the old-fashioned way, by tapping letters one at a time using one or two fingers. This can help you avoid spelling mistakes.
Another TouchPal feature I really like is the fact that you can enter special characters by tapping a key and dragging your finger down. This makes entering punctuation marks a bit faster than with other keyboards that that require you to either hit a special key first or tap-and-hold on a letter.
This is the first alternate keyboard I’m actually thinking about keeping on my Google Nexus One, because it really does seem to be much better than the default Android 2.3 Gingerbread keyboard. The only thing making me hesitate is the fact that the app uses about 7MB of disk space. My aging Nexus One doesn’t have much storage space left, and I’m not sure if I can justify that much space for an app that I don’t necessarily need.