7-Step Guide to Installing Any Android Keyboard on Your Android Phone

September 8, 2011
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Many Android users often envy other users who have different and much better keyboards on their Android devices. When I first got my Motorola DROID 2, I hated the keyboard that came with it and envied anyone who had an HTC phone with the HTC keyboard.  I wanted to replace the stock keyboard on my phone with that from HTC phones.  Unfortunately, such keyboard as well as other great ones such as Swype, Samsung Keypad, and HTC Touch Input are not available on the Android Market.

Today, it is possible to load any keyboard onto your Android phone.  The process is not well-known, but it has been around for quite some time.  This guide will teach you how to install any Android keyboard of your choice on your device.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Using your phone, go to the Android Market and download the Astro File Manager app. You will need this in order to install the keyboard.
  2. Open your phone’s Web browser and head to 4shared.com. Once there find the search bar and type in what you’re looking for.  If you don’t get good search results or you get none at all, make sure you type the exact name of the keyboard you’re searching for.
  3. A search query on the site usually yields several results.  Scroll through them and find one that has an APK (Android Package) extension.  This is the only file type that your phone will recognize.
  4. Click the download link for the APK.  You will be redirected to a download page.  Do not close the page or open a new one while the file is still downloading.  Just wait for the file to finish downloading.
  5.  When downloading completes, a popup will appear asking you what app you would like to use to deal with the APK file.  Choose Astro File Manager.
  6. Astro File Manager will ask you if you’d like to install the application or cancel.  Choose to install. Astro File Manager will install the app.  After it’s finished, choose “Done.”
  7. Your new keyboard is now installed.  Activate it by going to Settings > Language & Keyboard and then select the name of your newly installed keyboard.  A check mark usually appears beside the name when selected.  To use the new keyboard when composing SMS or writing an email, just tap-hold the text input area.  When you release the hold, a window will appear.  Select “Input method” and choose the name of your new keyboard.

Here’s a 5-minute video walkthrough:

So, which new keyboard did you install? Are you going to install more than one?

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