Android Keyboard vs. iPhone Keyboard


Software keyboards on mobile phones are a HUGE issue when you talk about the usability of the product. There are a TON of different elements that make up the overall user experience and these are often boiled down to a “I love it” or an “It sucks” with little physical evidence to prove the opinion. And to be honest, a lot of it is a matter of preference. But Lukas Mathis from IgnoreTheCode.net did a much more thorough review in an article titled “Virtual Keyboards on iPhone and Android” that deserves a close look.


The review takes a close look at the following elements that make up the overall software keyboard evaluation:

  • Size (pixels and physical dimensions)
  • Focus
  • Speed
  • Auto-correction
  • Dynamic Key Resizing
  • Language Support
  • Landscape Keyboard
  • Multitouch

The overwhelming winner of this battle is Apple’s iPhone and I can’t say I disagree. While I haven’t used the iPhone keyboard for any extended period of time, I wouldn’t adamantly oppose the notion that the keyboard is generally considered better than Android’s own. But still… I can’t help but believe that Android has the edge. Why?

  1. Google will continue to improve Android’s native on-screen keyboard
  2. 3rd parties will build their own on-screen keyboards to be placed in non-Google Experience devices (HTC Sense, Motorola Blur, etc…)
  3. Half of the review is still based on the actual device… and I’m assuming the 3.7-inch screen on the Motorola Sholes will have a drastic and positive impact on the usability of its software keyboard.
  4. Be reminded that by the end of next year there will probably be 50+ Android Phones on the market, all trying their darndest to provide the best software keyboard on the market.

Do the above 4 points mean that Android’s keyboard will inevitably win? No. But if you ask me, it means that it will inevitably narrow the gap and it has a good chance at being equal if not surpassing Apple’s own.

Regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, it is refreshing to see such an in-depth look at an element of touchscreen phones that is often debated but rarely dissected. Props to the author and here is hoping that in the not too distant future the same objective comparison might have a different outcome.

The last few days, Lukas seems to have been hitting an awful lot on software keyboards and has made a few posts since on interesting topics related:

Different Android Keyboards:

Retype C – German Keyboard:

[IgnoreTheCode via JKonTheRun]

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

Whoever Makes The First Android Netbook – Don’t Do This

Previous article

T-Mobile USA Customers: Switch To Paperless Billing

Next article

You may also like


  1. Awesome article. It’s basically a usability issue that a lot of Open Source Projects (or even technical projects in general) skip over. The details of how machines interact with humans needs to be documented, studied, and considered more when developing anything new. Too many techies have the superiority complex and chalk it up to the user being not sophisticated or intelligent enough, when it’s really the crappy design itself not being user friendly. (speaking as a software engineer myself)

  2. I love your points, and agree, the sholes will probably have a better experience on a bigger screen, but honestly.. I absolutely hate. Hate the stock Android onscreen keyboard. I always have to install the HTC IME (which is amazing) everytime I flash a new rom. But I guess that is the advantage of Android, having the option to change the keyboard.. but then again, if it was close to perfect.. why would you want to? I hate Apple, but I really just have to side with them as well on this front.

  3. why dont they just let us connect a full size hard keyboard by mini usb or bluetooth FGS

  4. i would say the landscape keyboard was about as good if not better than the iphone portrait keyboard. android received landscape before the iphone did, thats just sad.

  5. I’ve just got a T-mobile G2 Touch (HTC Hero) and really do think it’s keyboard on par with the iphones. It’s responsive and easy to type with and the autocorrect feature is very clever and intuitive. I hardly ever have to re-type a word and have nothing but praise for HTC’s take on the android platform in general as well as the keyboard.

  6. Weird outcome. Noah from phonedog.com, who does a lot of comparisons, got a different outcome. I trust his opinion better.


  7. Last time I tried an iPhone, I tried pressing the keys on the software keyboard with my whole thumb witch is pretty large. Even if I hit a ton of other keys, it only selected the one in middle, making me hit the correct button every time. I was quite impressed. The hero not the magic didn’t seem to be working as well. Anyone know how this works? Can it sense the entire area I press and just calculate the middle?

    Then again, I only tested ether phone for a few minutes.

  8. Thanks for linking to my piece! I thought I’d answer some points you guys are making. I want to start out by saying that the Android keyboard is Google’s first attempt, while Apple has been working on it for quite a bit longer, so it’s to be expected that Apple’s version is more refined. As Google keeps working on its keyboard, it will improve. So my piece wasn’t so much about a fight between the two keyboards as it was about pointing out the details that go into designing such a keyboard.

    doom writes: “android received landscape before the iphone did”

    This is actually not true. The iPhone has had a landscape keyboard ever since it came out, but not all applications support it. The same is true for Android, but I get the impression that more Android apps than iPhone apps support it.

    Roy writes: “Noah from phonedog.com, who does a lot of comparisons, got a different outcome. I trust his opinion better.”

    I would suggest you trust neither of our opinions, but instead read the article and watch his movie and play around with both phones, and then make up your own mind :-) In his video, Noah mainly looks at features outside of keyboard accuracy. Android phones do offer more such features (like suggestions and smileys). However, if you watch his movie, you’ll notice that he types much faster using the iPhone, even if he ends up preferring the Android phone.

    Morten asks: “Can it sense the entire area I press and just calculate the middle?”

    Both my Magic and my iPhone try to figure out the center of my touch. In my tests, they worked pretty much the same in this regard.

  9. After reading the IgnoreTheCode.net review, what I experienced on the Iphone was probably a combination of “Dynamic Key Resizing” and the larger screen size.

    Anyway, Im not fussed. Im sure we’ll see improvements and a better result after Donut hits the streets and Sony releases their 4 inch screen.

  10. i love android but iphone soft keyboard f*ucks androids sh*t up

  11. I actually like the Android keyboard although the keys are a bit too small for my taste (screen size). I use a HTC Magic. But one thing that sucks is its bad use of international characters, i use the ÆØÅ keys and have to long press everytime i have to use one of these characters which slows down typing alot…

  12. I say the HTC_IME works best… if people dont know what that is… search it up :D

  13. well, I’m getting the samsung galaxy now, however from the short time I tried it in a store, the iphone keyboard still wins hands down.

  14. It’s simple. The only one problem with the Android on-screen keyboard is the screen size of Android devices is smaller than the iPhone, so the gap between keys is small, make us harder to touch correctly.

  15. I’m typing this on an HTC Hero – the keyboard is excellent, much better than the default Android keyboard and in my short experience, better than the iPhone’s. However, someone with practise on an iPhone would probably prefer it, these things largely come down to what you’re used to.

  16. Why on earth would multiple software keyboards and 50+ different devices be a good thing when trying to make something excellent?

    Haven’t you learned *anything*?

  17. I really want to see someone implement a crocodile keyboard, where all the keys are smaller but triangular shaped and arranged like teeth, all pointing the same direction. That would cut down on the potential for fat-fingering and — potentially — allow more keys to fit in a smaller space.

  18. HELL no.

    Why would you even post a “review” from a MAC page? WTF do you THINK the answer is going to be? This “review” was biased from the start, so what makes you think he’s SERIOUSLY interested in the difference? ‘Cause he’s not.

  19. The HTC IME (touch input) keyboard is a big improvement over the stock android keyboard. Lots of threads in xda-developers explaining how to install it … requires root though!

  20. No matter how many Keyboards are developed for Android, you can’t compare a Keyboard on a 3.5″ screen (iPhone) to a Keyboard on a 3.1 or 3.2″ screen (Android). Nothing can make up for lack of room. We need Android phones with bigger screens to compete with iPhone. Motorola Sholes / DROID (3.7″) coming out soon from Verizon.

  21. I have a my touch. I am having horrid issues with the touch screen. I have nails yet screen is only sensitive to finger pad and I am unable to change the message keyboard to a different type. It is full screen only on tmobil. Can I download another type of keypad for tmobil my touch? Help!

  22. If you are looking for a real alternative to the iPhone keyboard on Android, try Smart Keyboard Pro. It’s not yet perfect but it’s improving really fast!

  23. So, I’ve just gotten an HTC Incredible from Verizon. I upgraded from an _original_ iPhone (EDGE version, not 3g). Let me just say that the keyboard in Android is shit, still, after a year of the supposed development that would have fixed the problem. It’s inaccurate as all get out. No wonder lots of folks that use Android prefer a hardware keyboard.

  24. Добавь свою ссылку на несколько сотен доменовСекреты игровых автоматов!Отдых в Анапе: Джемете, пансионат “Рябинушка”. Видео приклоы клон скачать бесплатнопорно кровь бляди урень мгк скачать бесплатно. В-третьих, не имея опыта в сфере продаж, вы не сможете зарабатывать 1,5 тыс. Вы там ни в жизнь не услышите, чтобы оператор потребовал кого-то повернуться или актеры смотрели куда угодно, но только не друг на друга.

  25. I just got a HTC hero. I can’t write this message so well bec terrible. Can’t Stanford this phoneause the keyboard is

  26. No need to compare like this anymorme, after you meet Phonic Keyboard System. In 3 minutes, You will be as expert for text messaging.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Misc