The Xperia Keyboard is Sony’s custom onscreen keyboard for their Android smartphones and it turns out that it is indeed a highly customisable one. Right from the first time that I powered up the Xperia P. I kept being prompted to customise the keyboard to my taste. I ignored it for a while, afterall the keyboard worked fine as is. But then, I finally decided to give it a try, and was pleased.
First up, the Xperia keyboard looks and feels different from the default Android keyboard. I may have missed the option, but it looks like there is no way to pick the default Android keyboard for use here. Sony’s Xperia keyboard has some iOS-like feel to it.
Gesture input, like SWYPE, is there, automatic space, quick fix and more of those little stuff that makes typing a smooth experience on the device. The option to include Google voice typing is there, so you can dictate your text. You can also choose to to set vibration and sound with key presses as you desire. You can choose whether or not you want your typos corrected. You can choose a language, and even a secondary language, so you get suggestions from two languages at the same time.
You can choose from three available keyboard layouts – Phonepad (a condensed keyboard), a full QWERTY keyboard, and an a full keyboard extra (has symbol shortcuts on letter keys).
Under Additional Keys, you get to choose whether to add a full stop, comma and smiley keys to the keyboard. The keyboard that came by default didn’t have these keys included, and while typing I had to switch to numeric mode to insert a coma. Of course, I opted to add these to the keyboard directly, giving me easier access to these characters.
You can also apply a skin, which basically lets you choose between an all-white keyboard, a mixed colour keyboard, and an all-black keyboard.
Here is what my personalised keyboard looks like in portrait mode:
The big deal is that the user has such a high level of control over the keyboard that he or she uses. Not everyone wants what I want, and I can imagine that others would configure the Xperia keyboard differently. You can make modifications anytime as it pleases you. If there is something that Sony has done well with their implementation of Android, it is giving a greater level of customisation to the user. We saw this with the music player earlier, and here it is again for the keyboard.