clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Siine Keyboard for Android lets you construct texts like Lego (hands-on)

New, 21 comments

The new Siine keyboard offers several innovative ways of entering text, from a clock view for adding times to a building-block method for common conversation.

Siine keyboard HTC Desire 640px
Siine keyboard HTC Desire 640px

A new alternative Android keyboard has yet another way of thinking about the way you type. Named Siine, it offers three different ways of entering text. Alongside the regular QWERTY keyboard, there are also a number of quick shortcut menus for times, dates, and regularly used words and expressions. Each of these is context-aware and so adjusts to help you form phrases by hiding words once you've used them already. It's designed with Android 4.0 in mind — the app fits in well with the Holo theme, even down to the Market-like Siine gallery. There's also a "stress" mode — if you can't speak to someone and need to generate a reply at speed, Siine has a menu with words and phrases like "sorry" and "can't talk now."

We downloaded the keyboard, and while in principle it has some great ideas, there are a few things that impressed us less. The QWERTY section of the keyboard is comfortable to use, with large well-spaced keys and haptic feedback should you want it. However, it isn't as resilient to typos as Swype or Swiftkey X might be, so typing "pkanned" doesn't automatically suggest "planned" and leaves you to manually correct the error. The lack of a shift key is confusing at first, forcing you to hold down a letter to produce its capitalized version. There's also no caps lock here.

The other more unusual features of the keyboard work well — we're especially fond of the fast time and date input, which is an incredibly fast and simple idea. The quick words show potential, but to be truly useful will require some setup on your part (for names and more uncommon words and phrases). To help ease this along Siine provides some downloadable phrase sets — from "Booty call" to "Sherlock Holmes" — though we're not sure how many Brits actually use the phrase "oggie oggie oggie" in regular conversation. The app's available for free in the Google Play app market, and currently only supports English with more languages coming soon.