Tag Archives: keyboard

How to Change the Keyboard on an Android Device

So it has occurred to me that a lot of people don’t realize the extent of which you can customize an Android device. From the home screen launcher, to the theme, to the phone dialer/messaging/email app, the list is endless. It’s one of the beauties of Android –total freedom to replace what you don’t like with some developer’s better attempt.

It’s the sheer number of people I’ve met that are still using TouchWiz and cursing at it that has brought me to think that it warrants a small series of videos here on the site (if not a PSA blasted across the country) on how to get the most out of the customization options of Android. So here goes.

To start this off, let’s begin with one of the first things I do when getting a new Android device –the keyboard. It’s the fastest way for me to get a sense of familiarity and it is the first thing that annoys me about a lot of manufacturer’s custom interfaces (just like how you’ve come to learn the layout of the keyboard for most computers, I’ve come to get used to a specific way I want my Android keyboard. Thanks, conditioning!).

If you type “keyboard” into the Play Store, you’ll be presented with a lot of interesting options for replacements. There’s ones that allow you to swipe the keys to form words, ones with unconventional keys with multiple letters per key that guess the letter you actually want, ones in crazy colors and styles, and most have a lot more customization options than the one your manufacturer thought you’d like.

Swapping out the keyboard is a lot like downloading any other app; find the keyboard you want from the Play Store and install it. The difference is that you need to set it up after downloading it. And although some will walk you through this process when you install the keyboard, not all do so it’s probably best to know how to do it manually regardless. Here’s how:

I. Download the New Keyboard

1. Open the Play Store.

2. Search for “keyboard”.

3. Choose a keyboard you want to try and install it.

II. Setup the New Keyboard

1. Go to Settings > Language and Input (this might be called something else depending on your device, but look for something that might contain keyboard settings).

2. Check the box next to the new keyboard name to enable it.

3. Tap on Default and then choose the new keyboard to set it as the default keyboard.

4. Open any app that has typing in it, and tap in the text field. The new keyboard should pop up.

Find any amazing keyboards? Share them in the comments below!

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Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture Out on Steam This Week

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture will be available on the PC on April 14. The game is available for pre-purchase now on Steam.

Developer The Chinese Room announced the “worst-kept secret” earlier this month, noting a few updates for the PC version.

In addition to performance improvements and bug fixes, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture on PC will add accessibility options—a crosshair for players who suffer from motion sickness, visual aid to all phones and radios for those hard-of-hearing, and a new “tilt” functionality for players with mobility issues.

Keyboard and mouse support, along with control remapping, will be included. All “usual” controllers, including the Steam controller, will also be supported.

Continue reading…

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Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture Out on Steam This Week

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture will be available on the PC on April 14. The game is available for pre-purchase now on Steam.

Developer The Chinese Room announced the “worst-kept secret” earlier this month, noting a few updates for the PC version.

In addition to performance improvements and bug fixes, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture on PC will add accessibility options—a crosshair for players who suffer from motion sickness, visual aid to all phones and radios for those hard-of-hearing, and a new “tilt” functionality for players with mobility issues.

Keyboard and mouse support, along with control remapping, will be included. All “usual” controllers, including the Steam controller, will also be supported.

Continue reading…

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How to Change the Camera on Your Android Device

Continuing with my new series on getting the most out of customizing Android (since it seems most people don’t realize to the extent you can actually customize an Android device), I’m moving on to something that can change the way you see the world –the camera.

Just like with changing the home screen launcher or the keyboard, there are a ton of camera options to choose from. Some have fun filters and photo features (like the oh-so-popular photo blur effect originally found in the HTC One M8’s camera), while others have a ton of more professional grade settings for the more hardcore photographers out there. Regardless of your level of expertise though, changing the camera can definitely make using your device on a daily basis a more pleasant experience.

Here’s how to change the camera on your Android device and some of the more popular options available.

I. Download the New Camera

1. Open the Play Store.

2. Search for “camera”.

3. Choose one of the many camera options to try and install it.

II. Use the New Camera

Unlike the keyboard and home screen, you don’t need to set the camera as a default right away to use it (but you can select it whenever another app tries to use the camera. It’ll give you the option to use the new camera by default and you can decide if you want to when that happens on your own).

1. Whenever you want to take a picture with the new camera, simply tap that camera app instead of the normal camera app. I also highly recommend putting the camera app icon where ever you had the original camera app icon (i.e. on the home screen or in the dock on the homescreen) so that it’s where you are used to tapping for taking photos.

If you do use a gesture or a button to open the camera normally, simply do that like normal and Android should prompt you to choose what camera app you want to use as the default for that action now that you have more than one suitable option for it to choose from. Simply select the new camera to help make the transition to it a bit more seamless.

You can also always uninstall the new camera to get back to using the old one instead.

That’s it! Try it out and let me know what your favorite camera apps are that you’ve found in the comments below!

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How to Change the Music Player on Your Android Device

Here we have another part of my series on getting the mort out of customizing Android (since it seems a lot of people don’t realize just how much you can change the Android OS). This time I’m going to show you how to change the default music player in Android so you don’t have to be stuck with the one the manufacturer (or Google) decided you should use.

Just like changing the home screen, the keyboard, or the camera as I showed you before, there are a ton of music players out there to choose from when thinking of making the switch. Some of them are entire services in themselves like Spotify, for example, and others are just better music players that can help organize your music (from where ever you downloaded it from) in a way that might be more to your liking. For the music player, it’s just as easy as with changing those other parts of the Android ecosystem I mentioned –download the new player and begin setting it as your default whenever prompted.

Here’s how to find a music player that you might like, some popular options that others use, and how to make sure it’s what Android uses for all your available tunes.

I. Download the New Music Player

1. Open the Play Store.

2. Search for “music player”.

3. Choose from the plethora of options and install one to try out.

II. Set it as the New Default Music Player

Like with the camera, there is no way to set it as the default app to handle music right away, you have to replace the app icon you usually use for music (and the widget if you use one) and tap it instead of the old music icon for now and then whenever you use an action (i.e. a gesture to launch the music app, plug in the headphones to launch a music app, etc.) you’ll be prompted by Android to choose what music application to use for that action and if you want it to be the new default app for that.

You can also always uninstall the new music player to revert back to the old one and undo the defaults you set.

There you go! Let me, and others, know what your favorite music players are and why in comments below!

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Corsair Strafe RGB Silent Mechanical Keyboard for $119.99 + free shipping

Best Buy via eBay offers the Corsair Strafe RGB Cherry MX Silent Gaming Mechanical Keyboard, model no. CH-9000121-NA, for $119.99 with free shipping. That’s the lowest total price we could find for this model with any switches, although we saw it with red switches for $5 less last month. It features Cherry MX silent switches, multimedia controls, fully programmable keys, a detachable wrist rest, FPS and MOBO keycap sets, anti-ghosting with 104-key rollover, and includes a keycap puller. Click here to learn more about Cherry MX silent switches.

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What is Continuum? (Video)

One of Windows Phone 10’s really great features that sets it apart from the other mobile operating systems is the new Continuum feature. This feature allows you to plug-in to a monitor or a TV via a separate dock accessory, HDMI, or Miracast dongle (to wirelessly cast it) to get a full-blown version of Windows 10 running from the phone.

It’s pretty simple to set up, but unfortunately, it isn’t quite that simple. Nor is it that easy to understand what it can and cannot actually do so I figured I’d put together this video showing what Continuum is and how you can use it.

How to Use Continuum

So there are three ways to use Continuum. Essentially you need a way to project the phone’s screen to another screen (i.e. a monitor or TV) and some input devices, namely a mouse and keyboard. Here’s the options.

Display Dock

Microsoft Continuum Dock

So the most obvious way, thanks to Microsoft’s marketing, is the purpose built accessory, the Display Dock. This small brick allows you to connect your phone to any monitor/TV that has either an HDMI or DisplayPort available. You can then use its other ports to connect a keyboard, mouse, or other peripherals.

Besides the USB-C port that you use to connect your phone to it (that also charges the phone for you, by the way), it includes 3 USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port, a DisplayPort, and a microUSB port. The downsides to this method, is 1. you need to carry it and it’s power adapter with you if you travel with it, 2. it requires its own power, and 3. it costs $99 to buy (or $97 here on Amazon).

MiraCast

Belkin Miracast

MiraCast is a protocol for beaming a display to another device and, thankfully, Continuum and Windows Phone support it. If you have a TV that has the protocol built-in, you can easily tap on the Continuum app on the phone and tap Wireless Display to connect to it.

If you don’t have a display with that built-in, you can always buy a Miracast enabled HDMI dongle like this one, and that’ll allow you to plug it in to any HDMI port on a display to get it to work.

Benefits of this method include the portability of just needing to carry around the tiny dongle instead of the heavy port

USB-C to HDMI Cable

If you’d rather not use the wired approach, you can actually use a proper USB-C to HDMI cable, like this one, to connect the phone to the display and that works, is much cheaper, but doesn’t allow for charging or extra ports, of course.

Keyboard and Mouse

Surface Mouse

Regardless of any of the above three ways to get the screen working, the best way to get the mouse and keyboard to work on Continuum is to get a bluetooth mouse and keyboard, connect them to the phone, and then use those to control the phone.

After searching around for a while, I ended up getting this mouse because of its super small size, accuracy, and the fact it doesn’t need a dongle and this bluetooth keyboard for the same reasons. Regardless any keyboard or mouse with Bluetooth will work with Continuum.

What Continuum Can and Cannot Do

So now that we have it setup, it is a bit of a misnomer to say that it is a “full-blown version of Windows 10”. While it does feel that way at first glance there are a few things to note that it actually cannot do that an actual Windows 10 computer can.

There is No Desktop

So while it may seem like there is a desktop with a start screen, it turns out that it’s actually a large static image used to just fill up the space in the background. What is the difference between that and a desktop you say? Well, you can’t put anything on it — no icons, shortcuts, files, etc. It’s just a background.

Multitasking

Real Desktop

There is no side by side windows or any windows at all actually. Any time you open an app, it simply takes over the entire screen and opening another replaces it. You can still switch between them like you normally would and jump from one to the other but you can’t use two on the same screen at the same time (and opening the same app on the phone will actually pull it from the desktop and open it on the phone).

Can’t Use Most Windows Apps

Contrary to what most of us were led to believe with the unveiling of Continuum, you cannot run most apps or programs meant for Windows 10. Any program meant for 32 or 64 bit Windows will not work, only ones made to work with ARM processors work –just like the old Surface RT.

OK, So What Can It Do?

With all of that said, however, it still does allow the apps that do work (like the Office suite for example) to show as they would on a computer and, with the help of a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, allow you to work within them much more efficiently than on the phone.

Even if it feels to me like it isn’t quite what I expected (or wanted) from this feature is still has some value and combined with the above keyboard and mouse I found, it’s a cool way to get a little work done will traveling. Throw in the Miracast dongle to that hotel TV, open up the keyboard and mouse on a book on the bed, good to go.

So what do you guys think knowing all this about it? Is it useful? Is it worth getting a Windows Phone for this?

Read More: What is Continuum? (Video)

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You can now translate webpages within Safari with Microsoft’s updated Translator app

Following yesterday’s release of Microsoft’s new Hub Keyboard for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad with Office 365 integration, the Windows maker today issued a refresh to its Translator app in the App Store. Bumped to version 2.13, the software has gained support for a total of 34 new languages alongside a pair of crucial […]

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