Available on: iOS
Our Rating: 🌑🌑🌑🌒🌕
*A paid version of AIR Social Keyboard with a darker colour theme is also available.
Back when iOS 8 came out, one of the most welcome additions was support for third-party keyboards. Since then, there have been countless numbers of apps made as alternatives to the standard keyboard. These apps have ranged in quality and function – some were purely aesthetic, while others added new features. This week’s App of the Week one of the latter types.
From Bubbl Technology, and touted as ‘the only social media keyboard for iPhone’, AIR Social Keyboard is a third-party keyboard app available for your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. AIR connects up to your different social media apps and contact book, giving you quick access to your contacts and hashtags whenever you’re using the keyboard.
So, how does it work?
Once you’ve downloaded the app and read through the introduction of what AIR Social Keyboard can do, it’s time to start syncing up your social networks. AIR lets you connect Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Tumblr to the app. There’s also support for Slack and your phone’s built-in address book.
However, for the keyboard to work properly it needs to be given full access by your phone. This can be done by going to Settings > General > Keyboard, and once granted, it enables the two basic features of AIR.
When you’re on Twitter composing your next great Tweet, you’ll be able to view your contacts by swiping left and your most recent hashtags by swiping right. This way you can tag in people easily without having to try and remember their handle, and keep track of which hashtags are currently trending. These are handy little shortcuts which speed up the process of posting tweets. The interface for the keyboard can take a bit of time to figure out, so you might want replay the introduction within the app whenever you feel you’ve missed something.
So far AIR seems pretty standard as third-party keyboards go. However, it does have plenty of features that make it more than just a keyboard with a few shortcuts. For Twitter, AIR lets you expand your tweets beyond the 140 character limit – sort of. What it actually does is convert your tweet into an image which you can then add to your tweet. It’s definitely useful for when you’ve got more to say than the character limit allows.
Speaking of images, that bring us onto our favourite feature of the app. Not content with just being a keyboard, AIR comes with a pretty impressive photo editor. You can crop a photo, making it the optimal size for Facebook or Twitter, and add other effects like filters and letterboxing. The text from your tweet can be overlaid on top of the image too, and you can change the colour and add a drop shadow. The best part about this is that you can do all the editing within the app where you want the image to go.
There’s also paid content too. For £1.49 you can pay to have a unique avatar on the app, as well as signature and watermark. All of these will appear over the top of images which you create in the photo editor – without paying you’re left with the standard avatar and watermark that you can’t do anything about.
Within the app itself you can view the images you’ve created, as well as manage hashtags and view your timelines across the different social networks you use. Just in-case you needed it, there’s also a calculator on-hand within the keyboard, letting you make any necessary sums before you add them to your tweets and posts. There’s a whole list of preferences you can edit, to tweak AIR’s keyboard to your liking.
AIR is a great app with lots of potential. Since it’s fairly new, there’s plenty of time for new features to be added. We’d definitely like to see an Android version of the app in the future.
There were some issues we found when using it. Sometimes when using the app itself, it would inexplicably crash when trying to access different parts of the menu. This would only happen when trying to access the Profile and Preferences sections. The keyboard itself is pretty solid, and didn’t have any noticeable issues that stopped us from using it.
If you’re the type of person who is always on social media – whether you’re a social media marketer or just a plain old addict – then you’ll definitely find AIR Social Keyboard to be of use to you. Check it out on the App Store – you can download it for iPhone, iPad and even iPod Touch. Also, why not take a look at the blog for AIR Social Keyboard. They’ve written plenty on designing the app, including how they came up with the logo.