Android is becoming popular day by day specially in countries like India where purchasing iPhone is very costly affair till date. In US and other western countries, telecom operators bundle phones with contracts so situation is different there. In India, Android mobiles and tablets are available in large range which starts from as low as Rs. 3000. Though English is very common language for speaking and writing in India, sometimes there is need for typing in Hindi like for sending SMS or for updating status on Facebook etc. Android phones becoming cheaper day by day are also being used by people not much comfortable in English and for these people its easier to type in Hindi instead of English. Android native keyboard does not have any option to type in Hindi but being an open platform Android allows changing keyboards without much effort. There are third-party keyboard applications available which have functionality for typing in Hindi and other Indian languages.
1. Swiftkey Keyboard (Price – Rs. 99, One month free trial)
Swiftkey Keyboard is the best selling keyboard for Android. In fact, it is one of the top paid android application in 38 countries including India. Major USP of Swiftky Keyboard is accurate predictions for the words as you type using Artificial Intelligence technology. Recently Flow feature has also been added to Swiftkey which allows swiping the finger for typing the word. Originally there was no option for typing in Hindi in Swiftkey. Support for Hindi has been added only in December 2012. I am using this keyboard since very long time and it has never failed me in giving correct predictions of words. It has saved a lot of time of mine specially while writing long emails and messages. Now with added support of Hindi its now very easy to type in Hindi on Android. Its Hindi words prediction is very good. The best part is that all Hindi alphabets have been placed intelligently on one page only. Apart from Hindi, support has also been added for Hinglish (Typing Hindi words in Roman/Latin script) as well with words prediction. Swiftkey Keyboard one month trial application is also available on Google Play.
2. Google Hindi Input (Price – Free)
Google has recently launched Google Hindi Input application for typing in Hindi. It has two modes available for typing in Hindi. First is Transliteration mode in which you can use English alphabets for typing Hindi words, the same which is being used in Gmail. Second mode is actually using Hindi alphabets for typing Hindi words. Transliteration mode is very easy and faster way to type Hindi. On Hindi keyboard, alphabets have been divided into two pages and to switch between pages you have to use a toggle button which is slightly cumbersome process.
3. Swype (Price – Rs. 53.83, 30 days free trial)
Swype keyboard has been made available on Google Play recently after remaining in beta for long time . Its main feature is ability to input words by swiping the finger. At present both Prediction and Swiping features are available in Swype as well as in Swiftkey. So it should be matter of personal choice and usability whether to go for Swiftkey or Swype. If fact Hindi support is almost identical in both Swype and Swiftkey. Swype also supports both Hindi and Hinglish languages. I have used Swype only for a while but the placement of Hindi alphabets is not as good as in Swiftkey, I noticed few overlaps also which might be corrected in next versions. Swpye one month trial application is also available on Google Play.
In next part of the series, I will cover more Hindi Keyboards available for Android.