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CyanogenMod adds highly desired sideways cursor keys, puts them in the system navigation bar

CyanogenMod Nightlies now include left and right text cursor navigation keys that live in your bottom system navigation bar. Keep your stock Google Keyboard and have your arrow keys too.
July 4, 2014
CyanogenMod cursor arrow keys

Android is a highly customizable operating system, and one of the first things that many users try out is an alternative keyboard. Some popular options like Swype, Swiftkey X and, the now popular on Android Wear, Minuum have millions of installs, but all of the keyboards have one major inconsistency, cursor navigation keys – some have them, others do not.

The stock Android keyboard does not include the arrow keys that standard PC users know and love. CyanogenMod is making it possible to keep your Android keyboard and have navigation keys all at the same time, by dumping left and right arrows into the main system navigation bar.

The concept is fairly simple, if you are currently focused on a text field, the buttons are added on the left and right edges of the bottom system navigation bar. Needless to say, click left to move the cursor left and right moves the other direction. This eliminates the need to struggle with the cursor mover/text selector slider, or to peck away until you get the cursor in the right place.

Android L Keyboard screenshot
Android L keyboard, still no navigation arrow keys

The feature is built into the latest CyanogenMod nightly and will be active by default. If the old ways of doing things were right for you, or if you have one of those keyboards installed that already gives you the arrow keys, you can always dive into settings to turn the feature off. Just keep in mind that items in nightly builds do not always see the light of day on full releases, so make sure to let the guys at CM know if you like it.

There is no doubt that the placement of the arrows may cause some false navigation bar taps on smaller screens, but there is more than enough space, even on my little 7-inch tablet, to add in up and down arrows too. Hint, hint CM. Or better yet, a delete button to compliment the backspace button.

Will you benefit from this extra functionality, or is the default Android text cursor slider all you need?