Google has announced the launch of its Indic Keyboard software on the Play Store, thereby providing an option to over a billion Indians in the sub-continent as well as around the world to type in their first language directly, just like they would on a regular PC or Mac. The app is already available for download from the Google Play Store, and according to the listing, is compatible with devices running Ice Cream Sandwich and newer versions of Android. The app is completely free, and once installed, can be enabled by going into Settings > Language > Keyboard and Input Methods. The software reportedly also supports a handwriting mode that is capable of detecting characters written in both Devanagari as well as Latin (English). This particular feature should prove extremely useful for people using styluses, like the S-Pen that ships with the Galaxy Note 5.
The software has support for as many as eleven languages spoken in India and the rest of the sub-continent, including Hindi, Bangla, Punjabi, Assamese, Oriya, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada. While Hindi is the most widely spoken language in the country, Bangla is one of the largest languages in the region, with almost 250 million people using it as their first language in India, Bangladesh and beyond. Punjabi, meanwhile, is the dominant language in Pakistan (along with parts of Northern India), although, the Shahmukhi script is used in the country instead of the traditional Gurmukhi that's used in India. Seeing as Hindi is widely spoken across the country by people from diverse linguistic backgrounds who aren't familiar with the written language, the software will also support a transliteration mode, whereby people who are unfamiliar with the written language will be able to use the Latin (English) keyboard to input words in Hindi.
Apart from the support for a vast array of actual Indian languages, the software is also said to support a hybrid input mode - colloquially dubbed 'Hinglish' by combining the words Hindi and English - whereby it will suggest English words while typing, as words like 'smartphone', 'computer', and many medical, geographic and scientific terms either have no Hindi equivalent, or are not used under regular circumstances. Those willing to give Google's latest virtual keyboard app a try, can hit the download link given below.