Let's face it, some of us spend more time correcting our smartphone typing than we do actual typing. Much of this is due to the small displays, which forces the keyboard keys to exist extremely close together. Many third-party keyboards have attempted to resolve this issue by trying different layouts, splitting the keyboard, and other (less useful) tricks. One keyboard, however, has taken a completely different approach.
Siine Keyboard is a dynamic keyboard with shortcuts (Siines) that make texting or typing much faster. It's likely very different than anything you've ever tried — and once you get used to it, you won't want to use any other keyboard.
- Shortcuts for fully-customizable icons to enable super fast typing
- Built-in clock and calendar to allow you to quickly add time and dates
- Stress message screen for quick replies like: "Sorry, can't talk now. Call you right back."
- Downloadable, pre-configured "sets"
- Personalized emoticons
- Delete text fast with the wiggle of your finger
At first blush, Siine Keyboard might seem like a standard keyboard. It isn't until you open up the Siine set that you realize it's something completely different. Let's take a closer look at this third-party keyboard solution.
Siine Keyboard is a free application. To install it, follow these steps:
- Open the Google Play Store
- Search for "siine"
- Tap on the entry for Siine Keyboard
- Tap Install
- Tap Accept & download
Once it's installed, you'll find the Siine Keyboard launcher in your app drawer.
SetupWhen you first run Siine Keyboard, you'll be prompted to enable the Siine Keyboard (Figure A). Figure A
Siine Keyboard on the Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy S III.
Tap the Enable now button, and you'll be taken to the Android "Locale and Text" screen. From that screen, tap to enable the Siine Keyboard, and then OK that choice. In the same screen, tap Select Input Method, and then select the Siine Keyboard option.Now that Siine Keyboard has been enabled and selected, it's time to configure the app. In order to properly use the tool, you must download "sets" (Figure B). A "set" is a group of pre-configured icons that offer quick access to specific words. Figure B
Go through the quick tutorial to get an understanding of some of the basics of Siine Keyboard.
By tapping an icon from a "set," the word associated with the icon will automatically be entered as text.
To download sets, do the following:
- Open the app drawer
- Tap the Siine Keyboard launcher
- From the Siine Keyboard main window (Figure C), tap Siine Sets
- Tap The All sets tab (Figure B)
- Scroll through the various sets and download the one you like
Go through the quick Tutorial to get an understanding of some of the basics of Siine Keyboard.
In the Quick Setup, you'll add your full name and a nickname for yourself. This allows you to quickly add your name into texts and such. That is all Quick Setup is used for.
Tap Settings from the main window to make the following configurations:
- Autocomplete enable/disable
- Word Correction enable/disable
- Word Correction Settings (enable shortcuts for words and add custom word corrections)
- Vibration enable/disable
If you use the Word Correction feature, I highly recommend going into the Word Correction Settings window to set up shortcuts for words that you use often and create your own custom corrections.
Now it's time to use Siine Keyboard. At first, this might seem a bit awkward. Eventually, however, you'll come to rely on the various features of this keyboard. Here's how it's used.When you open an application that requires the keyboard (like the Messaging app), you'll first be presented by a normal-looking keyboard (Figure D). Figure D
A fairly standard looking keyboard for a mobile device.If you tap on the little hand icon in the bottom left of the keyboard, you'll reveal the the Siine Sets that were downloaded (Figure E). To enter text, all you do is tap an icon to add the associated text to the conversation (or whatever it is you're using). Each icon can have up to three word (or phrase) associations. To access the alternate words (or phrases), tap the icon again until the correct word (or phrase) appears in the text window. Figure E
I'm texting myself. How fun is that?
If you tap the hand icon again, you'll reveal even more icons. You can even slide the horizontal rows to the left and right for more. But that's not all. You can even create your own icon with three different word or phrase associations. Here's how:
- Slide one of the horizontal rows to the left to reveal the Create button
- Tap the Create button
- Tap the square at the top of the new window (Figure F) to add an image for the icon
- Enter a name for the icon
- Enter the first, second, and third text lines (these can be phrases)
- Tap Save
You can use pics from your gallery or take a photo directly from your phone's camera.
Say, for example, you created an icon for your boss. You could enter three names for your boss:
- Mr. Jenkins, sir
To add "Jenkins" to a text, tap the icon associated with the text once. To add "Mr. Jenkins, sir" to the text, tap the icon twice. To add "Bumbleklutz" to the text, tap the icon three times.
There are tons more features to this handy third-party keyboard. Once you become familiar with how Siine Keyboard works, you'll have a hard time going back to the standard method of text input on your mobile device.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.