I am beginning to think that I have the same attraction to on-screen keyboards as I have for cases and bags, as I seem to be accumulating more and more keyboards on my Nexus One. Today James Kendrick posted a video review of the Ultra Keyboard, which to describe simply, is the swiss army knife of Android on-screen keyboards. A trial version is available but works only for 24 hours and the full version costs $2.79. After watching the video, I installed the trial on my Nexus One.
Ultra Keyboard stands out from other on-screen keyboards in several significant ways. A toolbar resides along the top of the keyboard to provide quick access to all of the keyboard’s settings and features. One toolbar button opens the keyboards’s language translation feature that translates text that you enter in English to other languages.
I have written about Swype, with which you type words by tracing your finger over the keyboard to the letters of the word. Ultra Keyboard has a similar tracing capability, but so far in my testing I don’t think it is as accurate as Swype. Swype is not available for all Android phones and the beta I am using is no longer available, so Ultra Keyboard may be the only way to do tracing for data entry on your phone if that is what you prefer.
Tracing works best when the phone is in a portrait position and you can configure Ultra Keyboard to only use tracing when the phone is in portrait. A compact version of the keyboard that also works best in portrait is also available and it supports XT9 recognition, which is similar to the SureType keyboards that Blackberry uses.
Ultra Keyboard predicts which words you are typing and will complete the words when you tap space or punctuation. The prediction isn’t as good or as fast as SwiftKey but it works as good as the stock Android keyboard. A microphone button is on the toolbar so that you can use speech to text if that is how you prefer to enter information on your phone.
As you can tell, Ultra Keyboard has a lot of options, and many more exist that I haven’t written about. James gives a good demonstration in his video, so I recommend that you watch it, and if you are interested further, install the trial. There is one price to pay for all the capabilities that Ultra Keyboard has because it takes up 4.63 MB of storage space on the phone, and it cannot be moved to the SD card.