TouchPal is a household name in the keyboard app realm with already 110 million daily users, so unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard about this extremely successful company and its set of apps. Now, TouchPal is conquering new frontiers: On March 30 2018, it launched its brand-new TouchPal Keyboard Pro-type with your AI assistant on the Google Play Store. The Apple version will follow soon as well. The app sets itself apart with its artificial intelligence capabilities, machine learning and its own AI Digital Assistant named Talia. We had a chance to review the app, so read on for our findings. Also, a new update brought AR Emoji to the app, which are quite hilarious.
- Typing was very fast after some getting used to
- A good explanation of privacy and security and the proper use of client data
- Loads of themes, stickers, fonts and dictionaries to choose from, plus customizable themes are super cool
- Calculations, Currency Conversions and Weather Forecasts worked like a charm
- AR Emoji - shows the company wants to keep improving user experience
- For impatient people, TouchPal Pro may take longer than expected to learn
- GIFs weren’t suggested as much or as varied as I would have liked (but you can choose from the GIFs menu for more)
How to setup TouchPal Pro
The app can be installed from the Google Play Store under the name of TouchPal Keyboard Pro-type with AI assistant. Just hit install to get it on your phone. It works on any Android phone running Android 4.0.3 and later and with its 32M doesn’t take long to install.
For the initial setup of the app, you need to sign in using your Facebook, Google, Email or Twitter account, which will be used to backup the machine learnings. Next, you are asked to choose an initial theme, like a standard dark version, butterflies, water, cats etc. There is a wide range of these to choose from. You then land on the app’s home screen, which offers various categories, such as stickers, themes, live themes, Emoji packs, BoomTexts (you can create any text you type into its own GIF), fonts, games, localized dictionaries (like for various city-specific talk from Boston, New York, etc. or from a various sector, like health, legal or finance). Using all of these options, you are able to further personalize your keyboard to your every need and own personal taste.
TouchPal Pro feature: AI-powered accurate predictions and smart replies
To get into TouchPal, just open any app that requires a keyboard. I used WhatsApp to give it a whirl. When looking for the perfect keyboard for my smartphone, there is one thing I value most of all: speed and efficiency. Since nowadays we type so much, calling has seriously decreased, typing effectively is even more important. TouchPal claims that it has attained a 99.4 percent higher prediction rate because of its artificial intelligence engine with AI assistant-integrated predictions, smart replies and information recommendations driven by machine learning technology. I of course put this claim to the test. I found at the beginning, app was already able to suggest appropriate words to me, though it got even better with longer usage as the app picked up my typing trends. When receiving a message, TouchPal Pro did suggest some answers that I found to be suitable. The predictive typing also worked well and presented various options as well.
TouchPal Pro feature: Talia digital assistant, smart information and recommendations
TouchPal integrated an AI engine that learns from your behavior to improve your typing suggestion. It also introduced Talia. This is the name of TouchPal’s very own smart assistant and comes with a wide range of “skills”: smart reply for response suggestions, weather forecasts, dining recommendations, pasting from the clipboard, GIF predictions and calculations of basic math operations. For all of these options, it is based off of what you type. After the input, you will be presented with a little text bubble, which I did not find to be intrusive at all, on the top right corner of the keyboard. Here you will then see whether it is a reply, the forecast, a GIF etc, depending on what context.
To access Talia and look up more information, you need to simply select the circular-like icon on the far right side of the keyboard. Here you can also search the web with either speech or typed input and receive a list of internet options. The website can then be shared directly into the chat. This is also a place where you can access and play games. Talia is still currently in its beta version, so there are likely to be more features in the future. It only works in English, Spanish and Hinglish at the moment.
New AR Emoji
The company just launched AR Emoji in the emoji section of the keyboard, which is quite cool. You can add talking emoji to replicate your faces expressions and plays back your voice. There is a gingerbread man, a capsule, a gorilla and a cute white bear. We reviewed this feature in a separate article about how TouchPal's new AR Emoji shows up the Apple Animoji, which is only available on the iPhone X. Seeing as TouchPal is available for all Android devices, this feature is accessible to all.
How is the user interface, controls and language choice on TouchPal Pro?
The keyboard is highly customizable and there are also many settings to play around with. In order for you to get the smart help, you need to turn this on in the Settings of your phone, under Accessibility, and then TouchPal Pro. Within the keyboard itself, the settings are found by tapping on the TouchPal icon on the far left. Here you can configure such things as the language and add as many as you want from the 150 tongues provided (great for multilinguals like me!), layout and size and key sound. Here you can also access the clipboard as well as trends, which is like a news feed.
For more setup possibilities, the settings icon brings you to the Look and Feel (keypress setup, Smileys, animation smart suggestion toggles), Predictions, Cloud, Languages and Help and Support. Looking specifically at the Predictions category, you can step up the app’s learning capabilities by allowing it to learn from messages and Twitter. Under Cloud, it shows you where your dictionaries and data are synced (for me my Gmail account). You can also choose for the app to input word trends, meaning trending words, phrases and languages models. For quick access to the corresponding TouchPal app full of themes, fonts, etc, hit the icon that looks like a shirt next to the TouchPal icon.
TouchPal Pro speed and stability: how fast is TouchPal Pro?
Typing, swiping, or Curve Typing, as they call it, and predictions were all very fast and though the first predictions using the app were not always spot on, the word I was looking for appeared in the list of other suggestions. I think this will become better with prolonged usage. The GIF suggestions didn’t work each time, however this may also be due to its learning of my habits or me getting used to the app, though I would have expected more GIFs right away to auto-show. I did find that this worked better after a day of usage though. That being said, there is a GIFs menu to wide range of options to search through. Recommendations worked as well, though these currently work in English, Spanish and Hinglish, and the countries that speak those languages. Recommendations for the USA worked well.
In addition to Curve Word gesture, you can also select Wave Sentence gesture. To input expected words, you need to swipe from the first letter to the space bar, then without releasing, drag your finger to the next letter for the next word. So, when typing See you, you just need to drag your finger from the S, to the keyboard, to the Y for you. Both options are very fast.
How secure and private is TouchPal Pro?
How much does TouchPal Pro cost?
The app is free to install and to use. A lot of the downloadable fonts, themes, games, BoomTexts etc. are free as well, but there are some paid ones too, like in the case for financial or legal jargon. The prices range from 0.85 USD to 5 USD.
TouchPal Pro final verdict - our parting words
For a free app (aside from the in-app paid add-ons), TouchPal is one of a kind and a pioneer in the AI keyboard game. With its plethora of setting, customization and feature options, in addition of course to the AI services it offers with the help of Digital Assistant Talia, TouchPal will continue to be used as often as it is now by smartphone owners around the world, on both Android and Apple. Though I would like to see it learn faster in the future, I could already observe the machine learning in process. It is also great to have an AI Assistant right in the app, so there is no need to exit it to get the info you need. Lastly, the fact that TouchPal openly and clearly say what it uses the data for is a big bonus point for me. While I am looking forward to Talia to come out of its beta stage and to be available in more languages, I can already recommend the TouchPal Pro keyboard app.
What do you think about the TouchPal Pro app with its AI engine and digital assistant Talia? Would you install this one today on your smartphone?
This article was written in cooperation with TouchPal