updated 01:10 pm EDT, Fri October 24, 2008
Android virtual keyboard
The highly-anticipated T-Mobile G1 handset shipped to eager buyers earlier this week, bringing with it the first application of the Android operating system developed by Google. Users are already pointing out the lack of an iPhone-like virtual keyboard as a shortcoming, as they are forced to turn the phone sideways and open up the screen to access the QWERTY keyboard, which is a two-handed operation. But according to the Android roadmap, a fix is slated for the first quarter of 2009.
The handset will then be updated with an Input Method Framework (IMF) that will allow support for an iPhone-style soft keyboard as well as allow apps developers to write their own Input Method Engines (IMEs). The IMEs will support soft keyboards, a dictionary of suggestions and a suggestion algorithm. While Android will include a few reference IMEs, developers will be free to write IME apps and submit them to the Android Market.
Adding support for pure software text input will allow touchscreen-only devices or for one-handed use in more circumstances, either of which has been possible with iPhones, Windows Mobile devices and Nokia's recent 5800 XpressMusic. [via HTC Source]