After the T-Mobile G1 reviews made their way out last week, it seemed that a complaint common across the majority of them was the lack of an onscreen keyboard. Yeah, yeah – it has a fully functional physical keyboard, but when you’re just trying to blast out a quick “lol” response, sliding the screen open seems a bit extraneous. When a member of the xda-developers managed to get a dump of the G1 ROM , it certainly seemed like a software keyboard was tucked away in there somewhere (See screenshot.) So where’s it hiding?
Turns out, it’s just not quite ready yet. According to this recently updated Android Roadmap, the first quarter of 2009 should bring a new input framework, which will allow for all sorts of input methods – most notably (and given as an example), software keyboards. Also noted is a new input engine, which will make typing on the onscreen keyboard a bit easier by way of “a dictionary of suggestions, and a suggestion algorithm”.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean the G1 will be getting an on-screen keyboard. That decision is really up to HTC and T-Mobile. It does, however, pave the way for sans-keyboard, full-touchscreen devices.