You don’t have to have root access or Android L to enjoy a nice ported version of the Android L Keyboard from the developer preview of Google’s latest OS. The Android L Keyboard is available now for devices running 4.0+, although not officially, in a standalone download available on Google Play.
It’s been posted for all by developers Chrisch1974 and Shen Ye and is currently running four and a half stars after nearly 8,000 votes if that matters to you.
It’s not quite the full-blown experience as you cannot add on custom dictionaries and there are some issues relating to operation, but these are minor if you even notice them. I’ve been using it since last night and it’s doing a lot better at predicting what I’m swiping than before, although that may just be because it doesn’t have my list of words to confound it yet.
The permissions are in line with what you’d expect for a keyboard, although they’re just scary enough to make you consider whether it would be a good business model to release a modified keyboard to steal people’s contact information. Unfortunately those are the same set of permissions a keyboard uses in order to see if you’re typing someone’s name and sync the dictionary.
The keyboard itself functions pretty well, it feels lightweight, there doesn’t seem to be any of the spacing errors I’ve run into with other keyboards, there’s built-in emoji support, Google voice typing available easily, swipe to type, and all the things you want in a keyboard.
Overall, it’s a pretty solid package, and it can be installed on most devices without any issues as the package name has been changed slightly so there should be no conflicts with factory keyboard or previous versions of the Android keyboard.
Something to note after having read through the comments is that this is a port of the upcoming Android Keyboard. People putting in requests for features of saying they’re withholding stars until x feature is implemented should realize the people who made this available are not designing the thing, they’re just porting it over. As such they’re probably not going to put anything into it other than minor bugfixes as the main portion of the code is Google’s.
The unofficial Android L Keyboard is available from Google Play for free, and it works pretty well even if it didn’t catch “a android” in the picture above.
Download: Google Play