Your keyboard application is one of the most used app on your smartphone.
If you do a lot of typing on your phone (I do – I type almost all my posts here, using a smartphone), the quality of your keyboard app drastically affects your productivity.
The keyboard application niche on Android is overflowing with options. The game is so competitive now that only the best is good enough.
Some of the well known top-dogs are:
- Swiftkey – highest rated keyboard on Google Play Store
- Gboard (by Google Inc itself)
- Chrooma Keyboard (an ultra_capable clone of and improvement on Gboard Keyboard)
- Swype (they invented the swiping method of text input, and remained the best there ever was)
- Minuum Keyboard
- Kii keyboard
In recent times, probably because of the heightened level of competition, and the fact that most keyboard apps on Android are FREE, many partakers are finding it difficult to make money, and have been pulling out.
It would be unlikely for anyone to fork out money to purchase an Keyboard app right now on Android, since the best are simply free..
Swiftkey Keyboard is one the most download, second only to GBoard Keyboard. Also the most highly rated. Both of them are extremely good. You can call them the best available. They are also FREE. So, as a keyboard app developer, what would you do to overcome these two hurdles?. The best are also FREE.
Kii keyboard was once pulled from the Google Play Store for some infraction. The author attempted a comeback with Kii 2 two years later. But he eventually realized that, with GBoard Keyboard being free, amd so excellent, there is no point continuing with the development of Kii 2. He abandoned it. The keyboard hasn’t been update in well over one year, and we aren’t holding our breath.
Next was Swype keyboard, the Pioneer, throwing in the towel.. They will no longer be updating the keyboard app anymore. Curtains. Sigh!
Fleksy keyboard was left dormant for a very long time before a new investor acquired it and gave it a new lease of life. We had already given up on it before then.
Now, it appears Minuum Keyboard is also going in the direction of the graveyard.
A Reddit user observed,
I wonder if the company behind Minuum silently quit the market?
Both their apps were last been updated over a year ago, and the support link on their website for Android is dead.
It wouldn’t be surprising, one bit.
The danger in this scenario is that many talented developers (like the Kii Guy) have no motivation to compete in this app sector, and this could bring some level of stagnation. Hyper_competition is what keeps everybody from resting in their oars.
For example, there are numerous features that GBoard Keyboard copied from Chrooma Keyboard.
Ideas rule the software world.
The keyboard niche apart, Android is a tough platform to develop for because there are simply too many free apps in almost any app niche you can think of .
There are developers who develop very top apps … for free, but they aren’t many, especially in a cerebrally l_tasking hyper_competitive sector like the keyboard one. You have to continually improve on it so as not to fall by the wayside..
If the gameplan is to develop a great app, and hope to be acquired some time later (e.g Whatsapp), this big gamble may not pay off.
Hopefully the scenario we have in the keyboard app sector wouldn’t repeat in other sectors (as we are beginning to have in the File Explorer and e-mail arena)? Google seems to have started paying serious attention to those sectors now.
Methinks Google (or any other platform owner should not be barging into areas meant for third-party developers, depriving them of their livelihood, especially when there are already good alternatives in that sector.
Continuing along this trajectory would (continue to) drive talented developers over to the alternative platform (iOS)!.