Mobile Input methods

@Yuvipanda and me were discussing about available Tamil input schemes for Android. Until ICS Tamil had no support in android and pre-ICS phones had very limited number of languages supported. Jelly bean added some more languages, but input methods, complete language support even for those limited languages have a long way to go. Even though android doesn’t provide these tools out of the box, developers passionate about language have also written apps like TamilVisai which is the popular opensource input method editor available for Tamil. 

Although these apps let people type, some of these are sub optimal for a seemless experience. This app for instance lets users input into its own preview box and then to the text area in the interface. This will defeat auto-complete for example. But this app was developed couple of years back when there was no rendering support, so the preview box made sense back then.

With Mobile page views of Wikipedia growing at a rapid rate across languages, it is essential to have good input method tools for all languages to increase them further because the current page views are mostly through clicking link and not really searching. This will also help in enabling mobile contributions.

While there can better layouts for touch and it need not always be based on QWERTY unlike desktops, but to people who come from desktop, having these layout will not hurt. Extension:Narayam supports over 30 different keyboard layouts and creating an app which can use the rules for the layouts will make mobile input a lot easier on Android and of course more layouts can be added.

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