A persistent problem with big-screen smartphones is that it is often difficult to use the keyboard with one hand because you have to slide your thumb across the screen. Many smartphone users often end up dropping their phones while trying to use their smartphones with one hand. The new features in Google’s Android keyboard now allow you to type messages and enter information just with one hand, that is, you can use the new Android keyboard in one-handed mode.
Many keyboard makers are recognizing that people with comparatively shorter hands find it very difficult to type on smartphone screens that are larger, especially in the case of phablets, without both the hands. With bigger and bigger smartphones hitting the market, it is important that you should be able to use the keyboard with one hand, without running the risk of dropping the phone or having to drop everything that you are holding and using the phone with two hands.
Microsoft already has the Word Flow keyboard that arranges the keyboard layout in such a manner that you can use it with one hand. Microsoft has also made their Word Flow keyboard available for iOS devices. Unfortunately, it is not available for Android.
Google’s Android keyboard’s one-hand mode doesn’t give you an arc-shaped keyboard (which seems cooler); it simply allows you to resize your keyboard so that you can shrink it and expand it according to your requirement. By the way, now that I’m writing about it, SwiftKey has had this feature for a long time. It allows you to change the entire layout of your keyboard so that you can easily use it with one hand. I have observed bigger companies take a lot of time to incorporate even basic features in their applications.
Why am I not using SwiftKey despite having bought the premium version? Its predictions are not as good as Google’s Android keyboard.
How to activate the one-hand mode in Google’s Android keyboard?
Simply long-press the comma key. Previously it used to bring up the Settings icon but now it also brings up the one-hand more icon that enables you to use the Android keyboard with one hand.
The updated keyboard with the one-hand mode isn’t yet available everywhere although you can download the apk straightaway. Since I haven’t yet installed the new update on my phone, I haven’t checked if the one-hand mode works for both left-handed and right-handed people or just right-handed people.
Anyway, it isn’t just the one-hand mode that has been introduced. Here are more features that have been introduced in the latest Google Android keyboard:
- Dynamic floating preview is removed and instead you can see the previews in the suggestion by now. This option can be nagging and distracting so in the Settings you can turn it off.
- Delete complete words by sliding left from delete key.
- Gesture cursor control by sliding your finger left and right on the spacebar.
- Quicker access to the number pad and the emoji keyboard.
- Holo themes are removed.
- Key borders so that it is easier to distinguish between different keys.