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Keyboard add-ons to help your typing

The Fleksy keyboard addd-on features colorful themes and

The Fleksy keyboard addd-on features colorful themes and emojis to pep up your messages and emails. Photo Credit: Fleksy

Mobile devices have transformed our culture. But for longtime computer users, trying to type anything meaningful on tiny virtual keyboards is a major culture shock. These add-on keyboard apps can pump up your productivity while trimming the typos. 

SwiftKey Keyboard

(iOS, Android; free)

For years the No. 1 add-on virtual keyboard, SwiftKey went from a startup to being purchased by Microsoft for $250 million two years ago. SwiftKey’s strength is a robust clipboard, where you keep anything from a few phrases to full documents. It also has a wide range of themes and customizable keyboard styles, so you can find one that fits your typing style. It “learns” your writing style and offers usually solid predictions about what you will type next.

Gboard

(iOS, Android; free)

Google’s relatively recent entry into the keyboard sector has already won millions of adherents. Because it’s from Google, it already knows a lot about you and can uncannily, some might say disturbingly, predict what you are about to type. Google Search is built in, so you don’t have to leave the keyboard to find information you need. Like many Google products, it is wonderfully functional but kind of bland from a design standpoint.

Fleksy

(iOS, Android; free)

Built with an eye to a generation of people who rarely use physical keyboards any more, Fleksy features colorful themes and emojis to pep up your messages and emails. The keyboards are fully customizable and can be set in three sizes. The text-prediction and auto-correction capabilities are good, but not as good as those offered by SwiftKey and Gboard.

TouchPal Keyboard

(iOS, Android; free)

Another keyboard that looks to attract younger people, TouchPal promotes its “fun” emojis, emoticons, stickers and compatibility with social media apps as its biggest strengths. But it is still a fully functional and fast keyboard with auto-correct, a clipboard and dictionaries that support more than 150 languages. TouchPal is especially useful for those who prefer to “swipe” their words instead of pecking away at individual letters.

Let’s not go the videotape

If you’re 30-something or younger, you know all about Xbox vs. PlayStation and Android vs. iOS. But Betamax vs. VHS?  That’s ancient history -- almost like the videocassette recorder itself. New research from Nielsen shows that only 0.2 percent of U.S. households still used the venerable VCR as of December 2017. In December 2001, 90 percent of households had access to a VCR. — PETER KING

Walmart, Microsoft target Amazon

Amazon is not just a retailer: Its AWS cloud service actually provides most of the company’s profits. Now, Microsoft and Walmart are teaming to take on their mutual archrival. Walmart will use Microsoft’s Azure cloud service, AWS’ main competitor, giving Microsoft a revenue boost and Walmart technology to compete against Amazon. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told The Wall Street Journal their shared rivalry with Amazon “is absolutely core” to the deal. — PETER KING

Sticky situation

MacBook and MacBook Pro owners have been complaining for years about “sticky keyboards” on models where keys repeat letters, feel sluggish or don't respond at all. Apple, finally acknowledging the flaw, is offering free repairs to anyone affected by the issue. Owners can bring their laptops to Apple stores, send them to Apple repair centers or have the problem fixed by an authorized Apple repair service. — WASHINGTON POST

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