App review: Thumb Keyboard on HTC EVO View 4G

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Love the HTC EVO View 4G (or its HTC Flyer counterpart) but not crazy about the keyboard? You are not alone.

When the 7-inch tablet first became available, I quickly drove down to a local store to purchase one and was immediately hooked. I loved the form factor and all the HTC goodness that came with it, but came across one major drawback – landscape typing!

I quickly discovered that reaching the center keys with my thumbs while in landscape mode was not very easy or natural. Try as I might to adjust to the keyboard, typing was simply just not as fast or comfortable as I thought it should be on a tablet. I figured there had to be a better alternative.

Enter Thumb Keyboard by Beansoft, which takes a different approach to virtual keyboards. The keyboard was previously featured on G&E while in version 1.5.1 and prior to the release of the HTC EVO View 4G, but it's now up to version 4.3.3 and has some awesome features that can be best appreciated on the larger 7-inch screen. This make it a real contender for a stock keyboard alternative.

Thumb Keyboard provides a standard QWERTY layout split in half (similar to natural ergonomic keyboards). It provides a more natural and comfortable design in landscape, as well as portrait.

The split layout on the View allows for easier access to most commonly needed keys, which improves typing speeds and reduces hand fatigue. No more unnatural stretching or juggling of my tablet! It's as easy as if I was typing on my HTC EVO 3D while taking advantage of the screen size.

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Added features of Thumb Keyboard now include word predication and auto-insert features, which allow for reduced keystrokes and typing errors. Another great highlight is the ability to change words that have all ready been typed (similar to Swype). Tap on a word in your message and the word choice list will appear to suggest other words. Click on the desired word and voila, it's replaced.

The keyboard is also very customizable and offers various split and standard layouts for different screen sizes and preferences. Key heights and widths, along with font size, can be adjusted to make typing easier. Besides the regular keys on a keyboard, you can also create toolbar custom shortcuts (like function keys), enter text shortcuts via pushpin button, and replace the secondary keys. Appearance can be modified further with 26 built-in themes (Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Galaxy Tab) or user background images.

Adding custom words to the dictionary is as easy as two taps. Simply type a custom word, tap on it from the word choice menu, and tap again to save to the user dictionary.

Other features include multi-touch, auto-capitalization, auto-period, auto-correct, voice input, 3D cover flow theme browser, emoticons, multi-language dictionary, and keyblock coloring. Settings are quickly accessible from the keyboard, and changes can be previewed while in the settings.

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While this keyboard is a great option to the stock EVO keyboards, it does have a few disadvantages. For example, sometimes the word choice menu will not appear, and double words will appear in the notes app when starting a new sentence. And while they are rare, restarting the app will usually clear the problem. Also, there's no demo version available so purchase ($~2.50) is required to try it for yourself. 

If you are interested in a keyboard alternative for your tablet or phone, Thumb Keyboard provides an easy-to-use, comfortable, and speedy typing option. I have been using it as my daily keyboard on my EVO View and even EVO 3D for some time now. It's one of my best Market purchases to date, and I give it two thumbs up!

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Links: Market (EVO) | Market (web)

Need help enabling a different keyboard on your HTC EVO? Find out how to do it here.

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Greg Malinao

Greg is a former contributing editor at Good and EVO, which was merged into Pocketables in 2012.