We need more smart keyboards

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| May 28, 2014

Yesterday, LG officially took the wrappings off their newest flagship device, the G3, and did so with enough flourish to have plenty of people talking about the new handset for the majority of the day. They had to do what they could to drum up attention, considering how many leaks and (confirmed) rumors we heard about the handset long before it ever made its official debut.

As my fellow Editor, Anna, said, the G3 may be a little underwhelming for some out there, but it's still a solid phone. More than that, though, it's a direct successor to the G2 from last year, and in the areas that LG thought they could improve the design or features, they did just that. In my opinion, the G3 looks a bit more refined than the G2, especially when you look on the back, and see those buttons. With a 5.5-inch display it's anyone's guess whether or not I'll actually ever really consider it for a personal device, but from what I've seen so far it at least has a chance.

And you've checked out our hands-on video, right?

After the dust settled and the excitement quieted down, I started to look through the finer details about the G3, and how LG plans on making it stand out on the features side against the competition. The hardware's obviously just part of the puzzle, and if LG really wants to make a splash in the wide ocean, they'll need some real stand-out features buried inside the G3. We've already got a pretty firm grasp of what Smart Notice is, and hopefully LG can make it worthwhile with its natural language.

When I saw Smart Keyboard, though, my interest immediately piqued. There are some good options out there, but I honestly think this is one area that manufacturers and designers could really benefit from spending some more time on. Apple's keyboard is still one of the best out there in my opinion, and Microsoft's software 'board is pretty fantastic, too. Google's come a long way with their stock keyboard, but the majority of proprietary keyboards out there from manufacturers that use Android as their platform of choice could use a lot of work. Thankfully, though, there are a plethora of keyboard options for Android users, thanks to devs out there that build their own versions with plenty of options.

It shouldn't be any surprise that the software keyboard on the BlackBerry Z10 is one of the device's strengths, considering the background that the company has in 'boards in general. (Granted, their track record for software keyboards isn't the best. Or even all that good.) It still wasn't perfect, though. One thing going for it: The ability to learn as you type, and make changes to the keyboard's hit detection to hopefully make you misspell fewer words the more you use the device.

The keyboard leans as you go. How great is that? It's actually designed to learn from you, to help you do what you're doing better the longer you own and use the device. That's pretty smart if you ask me, and I'm glad to see that the G3 from LG is going to incorporate the same mentality into their own keyboard. 

Also, for what it's worth, being able to adjust the height of the keyboard when you want is pretty great, too.

I want more smart keyboards. I want the 'board to get better as I use it, and to actively aim to help me type faster and with fewer mistakes as I use it. Autocorrect is great, in theory, but its usage on many devices bear the brunt of plenty of jokes. I can't tell you how many times I've typed in food, and meant food, and my phone will automatically switch it to "good" just because. It's only funny a few times!

How do you feel about the keyboard you use every day? How would you improve it if you could? Which keyboard do you use, and do you wish you could replace it (if you can't already)? Let me know!

Products mentioned