Using the New Keyboard with Predictive Text on the BlackBerry PlayBook

By Adam Zeis on 1 Mar 2012 01:34 pm EST

The new Predictive Text feature on the BlackBerry PlayBook. is one of those features that makes us wonder how we got along without it prior to the 2.0 update. It is a great approach to predictive text.

Thanks to the new SwiftKey keyboard on the PlayBook 2.0 software, you have the ability to enable Predictive Text and it truly is a huge help and a great time saver. The keyboard on the PlayBook has always been easy to type on, but now with Predictive Text, the PlayBook predicts as you type letting you simply tap words shown above the keyboard to complete them. As you type along, you find yourself starting a word, tapping and then semlessly continuing. The popup bar isn't too obnoxious so it fits in well with the keyboard and is really a welcome feature.

The keyboard even predicts in context, so you'll see words pop up as you go that the software thinks you may want next. Usually, there are five options given from which you can choose. It's amusing at times and you can almost make a game out of it and see what kinds of crazy sentences you can come up with (reminds me of Mad Libs or magnetic poetry). Pretty cool stuff, right? Bundle this with autocorrect and you'll find yourself cranking out long emails from your PlayBook in no time at all. If you're more of a purist you do have the option to turn it off, but if you give it a shot I'm sure you'll find it only helps get things done faster.

If you do want to turn off the feature, just pull down the main Menu, select Keyboard and move the radio button next to Show predictions and suggestions to the OFF position.

Check out the video above for a quick look at predictive text on your BlackBerry PlayBook.

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

Using the New Keyboard with Predictive Text on the BlackBerry PlayBook


If RIM can map the keys better, ala HP TouchPad, then we'd have a near perfect keyboard. Not having to dig into the symbols/ page for "?" "/" and quotes sure speeds up typing. Sure the TP has more real estate, but its keyboard layout definitely is the one thing it one-ups the Playbook on.

That would be sweet. But I haven't figured out how to do that yet. Hopefully someone on here could help with this ? Adam ? Adam ? Adam ?

Now if there was some way of adding autotext, then the world would be a much more productive place!

I'm sorry. I tried it but it was driving me nuts. It was always choosing the wrong word. Besides, I know how to spell and have perfected my touchscreen typing technique so I shut it off. This is the only OS 2.0 feature I have not been thrilled with. Otherwise OS 2.0 is awesome on an already awesome tablet.

I noted in the forums it does predict based on what you've previously typed and entered into a field. This goes for credit card fields as well which should be a big no no.

I left this feature on for my wife and daughter.

I turn it to potrait (and now use the remote) to type most of the time. Thankfully, I can reach everything with my thumbs this way and found the predictive suggestions slow me down.

My wife really likes. She types in landscape mode a lot. My daughter is seven and basically likes to play with it (doing the mad lib sentences).

It is a great feature and I'm glad it was in the update. It's just not for everyone.

I think it would be nice if RIM were to just use ONE keyboard for the PlayBook. There's one for the browser, two different ones for messages, calendar and contacts, and then the predictive one. WTF?

If you check the "sister site" Android Central, you'll find that the Swiftkey keyboard can be downloaded onto an Android phone, which would certainly be kinda cool for those with either a 9850 or 9860 Torch, imho.


You can always do that by selecting a keyboard type under options. Its set to Automatic by default. You have optinos like QWERTY, QWERTZ,AWERTZ to select from.

Because they are context sensitive. The password one contains every common symbol used in passwords, the url one include . / and :
It is well thought out.

Love the predictive typing experience but for some reason it wreaks havoc in my PB evernote app. To the point its almost unusable in evernote.

My wife is a teacher and i gave her my playbook to do her report card comments on recently, apparently the browser on her ipad wouldn't allow her to enter text in a certain field. She absolutely loved the keyboard and how it learned her students names, event the obscure names.

Too bad it didn't replace the default keyboard. Many applications (GroovyNotes comes to mind) still uses the old keyboard :-(

I really like this feature. I'm using it all the time.

It would be cool if a thesaurus word substitution is included in the list...maybe on the far right side and if you touch it the whole row changes into more word substitutions. The words in the predictive row could be a little bit smaller to include this thesaurus word.

I really hate to say it again, but predictive text was one of those (many) features that should have come out with PlayBook OS v1.0 which was one year ago.

Simply playing catchup; competitors have already raised the (predictive text) competition bar long ago, PlayBook is late in meeting this with OS v2.0

Have always turned this feature off in every gadget that has it since my old nokia days. Was always a nuisance for me.

No more typos! Only a few, but I'm great at tapping out words. If I master it, soon my next blackberry may as well be the 9860 or torch! :D

But I find typing faster on my 9900 allot better. I love remote control and the suggestion.