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Microsoft creates its own experimental Android Wear keyboard

Microsoft has released its own experimental Android Wear keyboard that lets you draw characters one-at-a-time on your watch in order to type them.
October 13, 2014

Microsoft might consider Android a rival platform, but it doesn’t underestimate its importance either and so the company has been pretty good about supporting the OS with its own apps and services. This extends beyond just Android, with OneNote getting Android Wear support last month and now with Microsoft devoting resources to an experimental keyboard app for AW called “analog keyboard”.

What makes this particular ‘keyboard’ stand out is that it doesn’t attempt to shrink down an entire keyboard layout onto a watch. As an alternative, you simply draw out letters one at a time on the screen in order to “type” them. We have to admit, this is a pretty cool idea (though not an original one) that could potentially be useful for quick commands and messages in situations where voice control isn’t practical.

Of course, let’s remember that this is an “experiment” and so don’t expect it to be perfect. First, the keyboard only works with a handful of Android Wear apps at the moment. Second, it isn’t as easy as simply installing the app from Google Play. Instead you have to download the APK from Microsoft and manually install it onto your watch using ADB.

While all watches with a resolution of at least 320×320 are supported (that means all existing options except G Watch), the Moto 360 does require you to use Bluetooth debugging to get the job done, due to the lack of USB support on the watch. Thankfully there is a way to use your phone as a bridge for the process, if you don’t have Bluetooth on your PC.

What do you think of Microsoft’s keyboard for Android Wear, could you see yourself actually using this one?