Microsoft's Garage division has released a new keyboard app for Android devices called Hub Keyboard. The new app is meant to improve the productivity of users.
Hub Keyboard can access Office files and contacts without switching apps. The app also has a built-in translation button that translates content for someone who does not understand the native language properly.
"When you're on your smartphone, you may frequently toggle between apps, especially when you're trying to share information with someone via mail or text message," says Microsoft. "Now you can say goodbye to all that switching back and forth thanks to a new Android app released through the Microsoft Garage, Hub Keyboard, which keeps you in your conversation, bringing in relevant information to help complete common tasks."
After installing the Hub Keyboard and configuring it as the on-screen keyboard for Android, users will notice two main changes: a new row of icons above the keyboard and another new icon in the "soft button" strip at the bottom of the screen.
The top row buttons are specific to Hub Keyboard and have an explicit function. The first is for the clipboard, which allows users access to previously copied texts. Users will be able to access multiple clips from the app and select which ones to paste on to the text field.
The second button is for documents, which allows users to search for files in OneDrive as well as SharePoint using a work, school or university Office 365 account. Users will have to type the word and the documents will appear above the keyboard.
The next button is for searching contacts on the device, and the process is similar to searching documents. Once a contact is selected, the app will show their information such as name, mobile number, home number and more.
The last button enables users to translate what they are writing to another language.
The Hub Keyboard app is available as a free download from the Google Play Store and the file weighs 12 MB.
"Hub Keyboard lets you stay in context by bringing information from different services to your fingertips and help complete your tasks faster. Sign in with your Office 365 work or school account to unlock access to more information," says the app's description.
The app is compatible with devices running on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean or above. The app supports only English language in the United States, but Microsoft plans to bring support for more languages and countries.
Customers will hope that Microsoft launches the app for iOS also in the near term.