When Apple unveiled iOS 8 earlier this year, the company managed to make it all about the changes they were making, more so than what they were adding (or altering) in the latest version of their mobile operating system. The Cupertino-based company changed quite a bit for the new software, but more than that they began allowing things many people thought would never happen. Like third-party keyboards. That's right, iOS will now let you use a keyboard other than the stock one.
As far as I'm concerned, this isn't something that falls under the "they copied Android!" banner, simply because this is something that all platforms should allow you to do. It's just that simple. Choice is great, and even when you're inside Apple's walled garden, using another keyboard shouldn't be something that gets restricted. Yes, the iPhone's stock keyboard is great (still one of the best I've ever used), but not everyone likes it. Some even hate it. So, letting them install another one, without having to jailbreak anything, should be common sense.
And now, here we are in 2014 and on iOS 8, and we finally get the option. I know quite a few people who are excited about it.
I'm looking forward to trying them out, sure, but there's a small chance I'll keep any of them installed on the new device. I'm a fan of the stock keyboard (probably because I've had no other choice in the matter), and a third-party 'board would have to be pretty amazing to sway me in another direction.
For Android users, though, non-stock keyboards have been part of the equation for so long that I can barely remember a time when they weren't an option. And many of them are quite good, especially these days. I've used a lot of them over the years, especially most recently, during my time with the Galaxy S5.
And here's where a big red flag gets raised for me. It's great that third-party keyboards are coming to iOS 8, because of options. But, as far as I'm concerned, a lot of Android devices *need* third-party keyboards, because the stock variants just aren't that great. In fact, it wasn't too long ago that the stock Android keyboard, the one you can now download from the Google Play Store as a standalone application (which is great), wasn't all that great, either. It's come a long way, but some keyboards out there haven't. So, you need those alternate options. Or, at least, I do.
I know a lot of people who only use those other keyboards, and never use the stock option, whether it's from Google or from a manufacturer like HTC or LG. Keyboards like Swype, Fleksy, Minuum, or SwiftKey. There are more, obviously, but these are the ones that always come to mind when looking for a keyboard alternative.
And thinking of iOS 8's new feature made me start thinking: which keyboard do you want to see make its way to Apple's mobile OS? But, also, I want to know which keyboard you use on Android, and why. Do you stick to the stock 'board, or have you pledged an allegiance to a third-party keyboard and continue to stick to it? Have you tried one, and stopped, because you disliked it? Which one? Let me know!