Hands-on with Android 4.2’s Gesture Type keyboard [Video]


Jump to 3:40 to skip the installation instructions

Yesterday, Google officially took the wraps off their latest firmware upgrade: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. While the name hasn’t changed, there are a couple of noteworthy additions making their way into the software, one of which was a new virtual keyboard Google is calling Gesture Type. Similar to Swype (and soon, SwiftKey), Google’s new keyboard gives users the option of making swiping gestures when inputting words instead of the traditional tap-to-type method. Definitely not for everyone, a key benefit to swiping is easier single-handed use, which, if you’re anything like me, your other hand always seems to find itself preoccupied with other things.

We were able to get our hands on an early build of the app before the link was abruptly taken down from Android Police (Google doesn’t play around when it comes to their leaked apps). While we won’t be able to supply direct links to download in this post, we do have a quick hands-on video with the Gesture Type keyboard complete with “Skype-like” font suggestions. Don’t worry, guys — that font has been done away with in later builds.

I was able to install the keyboard without a hitch on my Galaxy S3 and it’s working great. I did have trouble getting the suggestions to popup when going back and editing my messages, but I’m sure it’ll work fine in later builds (or on the Nexus 4). For now, check out our hands-on with the Android 4.2 Gesture Type keyboard (jump to 3:40 to skip the installation tutorial).

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Can we save the video for the actual use and leave the commentary, viruii PSA, etc, for the text portion of your article? Or tell us where to jump? Chris has a lovely voice; it’s so rich and full that I’d like to ration my exposure to it. I fear diabetes may strike.

    1. Ha! Sorry, 3:40 for the actual demo. :p

      I’ll definitely take your advice for future videos though.

  2. Chris, sexting too much? Lol. Keep both hands on the phone bro.

      1. Lol

  3. Dat long video on how to install pirated apps! :p

    Shame it wasn’t working the best, I was really looking forward to this keyboard, but as stated it’s only a leak and possibly will be further improved when it’s official.
    Will still give it a test though.

    1. Was originally going to post the link for download, but then Google started sending takedown requests =/

      1. lol ironically if you Google “Google gesture keyboard download” or something else you can still find the link.

        1. Gotta check the signature though. I’m sure it wont take long before malicious Android 4.2 keyboards start appearing on filesharing sites.

          1. lol yea, less than 2 weeks until the real thing. The photo sphere is the thing i really want.

    2. Just gave it a test. Can’t add to dictionary which is a shame, but it’s a lot more accurate than this video suggests. However, it’s still not up to scratch.

      1. There’s still some swiping techniques Swype does better. Like doing circles around words with the same letters in them (“will” or “cool”). Also, conjunctions like “it’s” is easier on Swype. Just swipe to the apostrophe and you’re golden.

        1. You don’t even have to swipe to the apostrophe on Swype… or maybe did you mean that it’s required on Google’s keyboard?

      2. I’m using it right now and i can add to dictionary on my gnex just fine

    3. Not everything that is sideloaded has to be pirated.
      There is loads of beta versions only available through sideload.

  4. Overall is day the Perugia’s works poetry will

    1. Now you can depressed. :wompwomp or :sadpanda

  5. I wonder how they will let you do the accent marks or symbols like swype does

    1. Yeah, I was just talking about that. It’s tough, which usually results in the wrong suggestion =/

  6. Just download it from androidpolice, they were allowed to release the .apk

    1. Just checked again, and the links are still dead. Not sure what you mean?

      1. qbking77 has a link in his youtube video, still works.

      2. That was where I downloaded it from much earlier today, I guess things have changed :(

  7. That’s the best you got?

  8. I tried out the keyboard. I like the “suggest-as-you-swipe” feature. That said, Swype handles things like punctuation much better (unless I’m missing something on the Google keyboard).

  9. I’m running Bugless beast on my gnex. I installed the new keyboard apk like any other app and its working great!

  10. Is there any quick way to do punctuation? I have noticed that double letter words seem to work better without scribbling on the letter like in swype.

    1. holding down the ‘period’ key pops up a menu with all the punctuation options… wish each key had a secondary item.

  11. Why is everyone looking to use keyboards that are “like” Swype, when you can just use “Swype”? I am using the Swype Beta and it works great on my GNex. The more I use it, the smarter it is getting. Even the voice input is working great.

    1. Problem with Swype is it’s not in the Play Store and not everyone knows about it. With Google releasing their own swipe input, it’ll be available right out of the box on Nexus/Android 4.2 devices.

      1. Go figure you have to do a little work to get the good stuff. ;)

        1. Will be even easier when SwiftKey flow gets released.

    2. The voice input on the newest Swype Beta is really impressive, Its better than the stock google voice recognition at learning and recognizing words that are one often uses. I really like the speed at which it translates, and even if it doesn’t get it 100 percent it’s easy to edit in ANY text box. I’m interested to see how Swift key Flow turns out though. On another note I just can’t help but wonder when google will bust out the fruits of their purchase of Blindtype.

    3. That’s odd, the more I use my Swype the dumber it gets.

      It’s strange but it always works well at the start, then after I’ve used it awhile it starts suggesting the same wrong words constantly which leads me to uninstalling it.

      Personally I’m over the moon that others are working on Swype like keyboards, it’s a great idea but Swype just seem unable to capitalize on it.

      1. … stop making it so easy… >:(

  12. I think this is a poorly written article.

    1. Also the video does not play from my gnex. This has happened before.

  13. I’m surprised Google didn’t give their keyboard to Apple too…

      1. It wouldn’t do any good, since iOS doesn’t allow third-party keyboards. Makes sense; it’s not as if having a third-party keyboard ecosystem would cause innovations like swipe input or anything…

  14. Hit and a miss.

  15. Did you try to select a word when getting back to it for correction?
    And what about settings? You don’t show it on the video, did you take a look at it?

    1. Yeah, nothing. There’s a few ICS/Jelly Bean keyboards in the Play Store that have the same issue. For whatever reason, there’s a paid version that fixes it. I’m sure they’ll get it up and running later on this 4.2 keyboard soon enough.

      1. Yes, it’s certainly already working on the Nexus 4.

  16. Not sure this will end up replacing Swype for me (or SwiftKey Flow whenever it comes out). For all the things I love about Android, the keyboard has probably been the stock keyboard is one thing I’ve consistently hated.

    1. Been using the stock Android keyboard with trace enabled (yep, it does that) because Swype doesn’t play well with my Rezound. Looking forward to SwiftKey Flow!

  17. Really
    Oh the irony of your name….

    1. haters gonna hate

  18. @Gamercore:disqus dude, did you seriously say it’s really good for one-handed use while driving. /FACEPALM.

    1. Yeah, I noticed that. Just love when folks jackrabbit into another lane because they are not paying attention let alone signal … shouldn’t promote it. :/

  19. not bad, thanks bud. I like the idea of swype, but their keyboards are pretty fugly. The ICS/JB keyboard on the other hand looks extremely sexy but the features were lacking. Finally, a great alternative to swype!

  20. I’ve been using this feature on my HTC Rezound since it came out last year..not sure what the big deal is….but welcome to the world of swyping..been using swype since the moto droid days and so happy to see HTC made it my default keyboard


  21. I use FlexT9 from Nuance, which is basically the same thing as Swype. Got it as a free app of the day from Amazon last year. Waaayy better than this keyboard so far. I hope the Android team makes a lot of improvements before they fully push it out…

  22. That sound of groaning is coming from Swype and other sliding keyboard devs who have their keyboards on Google Play. But on the other hand they can still add value by making their keyboards killer in other ways, like in prediction, or performance-wise.

    Personally I’ve been using SlideIT and I like it pretty well. It’s still a little rough in some areas, but I find most swiping keyboards to be that way. I’ve used Swype, TouchPal, and another one I can’t think of the name at the moment. But SlideIT won me over in the end. I’ll try out SwiftKey Flow, but I wasn’t actually a big fan of SwiftKey’s regular keyboard when I tried it, but part of that was because I was so used to swiping that plunking on the keys seemed to limiting to me. Just goes to show that Swype knew what was up early on and knew that swiping is the best way to input text on a smartphone since everyone, including Google, is going to a swiping keyboard.

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