TouchPal Keyboard is a replacement for the default keyboard on Android devices which lets you enter text quickly with two fingers or one. You can tap away with your fingers or thumbs just like you would with the normal Android keyboard, but TouchPal will try to help you along by offering recommendations as you type.
But the fastest way to type with TouchPal is to slide your finger from letter to letter to enter text quickly — much as you would do with the popular Swype keyboard. But Swype is only available if you buy a phone that comes preloaded with it, or if you sign up as a beta tester. TouchPal is available for anyone to install from the Android Market.
The developers have been offering TouchPal as a free download for the past few months, and promises to keep the promotion going for a little longer. Meanwhile, the company rolled out a pretty significant update today.
TouchPal 4.8.1 still uses powerful text prediction technology to make text input easier — but now the keyboard has been redesigned to make it easier to enter numbers or other characters.
Previously you had to tap a number icon every time you wanted to switch between numbers and letters. Now you can simply slide your finger up on any of the keys in the top row to enter the associated number instead of the letter on the key. For instance, tap on “u” to enter the letter “u,” but slide your finger from the bottom of the “u” key to the top and you’ll input a “7” instead.
The update also lets you turn of the “Curve” feature which lets you enter text by sliding from key to key. Just tap the Swipe icon in the toolbar and disable Curve, and you can use TouchPal like a standard keyboard.
If you do want to switch keyboard views so that you can see numbers and symbols the icon for doing that has been moved from the right side of the screen to the left — which means you’ll probably click it by accident a lot less often than you did before when trying to tap the period key.
I’ve been using TouchPal as my primary keyboard for the last few months and I’m pretty impressed with the update.
TouchPal is currently available as a free download from the Android Market, but the company will start charging for it eventually.