There’s nothing wrong with qwerty, but keyboards can offer so much more. For a mind-blowingly expansive take on what an Android keyboard can do, take a look at Siine Keyboard.
The qwerty keyboard you see when you first enter any text based app after installing and enabling Siine Keyboard is only the start.
There’s a hand symbol bottom left of the keyboard and hitting this calls up a range of icon shortcuts which can be used to construct an entire message.
Tap ‘Hello’, then scroll the icons vertically and tap the talk icon and your message says ‘Hello time to talk?’ Each icon has three slightly different ways of expressing its content – just keep tapping to toggle through them. You can add friends to specific icons and multiple taps of the icon associated with a friend gives you their first name, full name or nickname.
If you are like us you spend a fair amount of time fixing up meetings by SMS. Typing, ‘around 6 ish’ is a bit of a pain. Siine Keyboard gives you an alternative. Hit the clock icon on the keyboard and you get a clock on screen and also a load of time related terms – ‘-ish’, ‘around’,’ before’ and that kind of thing. Hit a time and a term and it’s inserted into the message.
There’s a taskbar you open by pressing a button on the bottom keyboard row. This calls up a host of other useful shortcuts. A calendar lets you add dates to the times we ran through just now simply by tapping a month and day.
The taskbar also contains more sets of shortcuts again accessed by tapping icons. One set has days of the week and other time related things such as ‘yesterday’, and ‘tomorrow’, ‘afternoon’. Another set, called the ‘stress’ set and signified by a time bomb icon, give access to short texts like ‘can’t talk’, ‘running late’ and so on, and there are sets for smileys and for your own customised shortcuts.
You can download more sets. These are themed for things like Aussie speak, Sherlock Holmes phrases and so on. Remember, as we said at the start, that every icon has three slightly different phrasings – just tap it to toggle through them all.
It is possible you are feeling a bit confused by all this, but it’s actually easy to get to grips with in practice, and well worth a trial. We miss the long press to get numbers that we have on our standard Android keyboard, but in general the shortcuts really do save texting time.
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THE BOTTOM LINE
Siine Keyboard takes the mundane task of typing out messages and gives it a turbo boost. We love that you can personalise it, too. There might be a bit of a learning curve initially, but re reckon you’ll soon start saving time.
Version reviewed 1.13.03
Requires Android 2.2 or higher
Download Siine Keyboard from Android Market
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