Google made a lot of fuss about the new design language called the ‘Material Design’ that it would be using across its various range of products including, Android on phone, Android Wear and perhaps even Google Chrome. The new design is simple, clean, uses a variety of bold animations, has simple geometric shapes and a card like UI that Google has been advocating right since the days of Android JellyBean. With material design on board, Android L is expected to be the biggest update to Android, at least in terms of how Android feels and looks.
As expected with a visual overhaul, Google has enhanced and improved the keyboard in the Android L release. The new keyboard has better predictive typing and there are obvious performance enhancements. But the most obvious improvement has been in the UI of the keyboard. No more are the characters separated by solid lines to indicate keys. You have a flat layout with characters over a solid background color. The new keyboard also introduces a new variable enter key that changes to either an emoticon key or a search key based on where you are using the keyboard. Flow typing on the keyboard has improved too.
If you are looking to try out the new Android L keyboard but do not have the developer preview installed on your device, you are in luck. Thanks to Shen Ye, the keyboard is available as a free app on Google Play and can be downloaded and used on any Android phone that is running Android 4.0 and above. We will link to the Google Play location of the Android L keyboard at the end of the post. The keyboard works exactly the way it would on Android L release, though the developer for now has restricted it to just one basic default theme. The best thing about the app is that there are no ads or bloat that come with it and it does not affect the performance of the device in the slightest. It feels, as good as a default keyboard. There is no way to import your personal dictionary that you may have created using the default keyboard on your device, but that is only a minor annoyance.
Play Store: Download Android L Keyboard for your Android smartphone here