Gear S2 gets full QWERTY keyboard app, way to start messaging conversations from the watch

The Gear S2 is an amazing smartwatch, plagued only by a shortage of compatible apps and not-so-great compatibility with existing Android apps, at least when compared to Android Wear smartwatches. But third-party developers have been picking up the slack lately, and we now have two very useful apps available for Samsung’s most beautiful smartwatch.

The first is an app that solves a fundamental issue with smartwatches. For messaging apps, both Samsung’s Tizen and Google’s Android Wear platforms only let you reply to incoming messages through their notifications. If you dismiss a notification, you can’t reply to that particular message, and nor can you initiate a conversation with a contact yourself. XDA Developers member tipztv has developed an app to get around those limitations, with the app supporting popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Line, KakaoTalk, Skype and Viber.

The app – seemingly called Chat Hub – isn’t available for the Gear S2 yet, as the developer is waiting for Samsung to approve it. But once (and if) it gets approved and published on the watch’s app store, you will be able to start conversations with your friends whenever you want right from the Gear S2, and you will also be able to manage chats in all the apps listed above from a single location. There is no support for keeping logs of previous conversations, though the developer doesn’t make it clear what exactly this limitation means.

As for the QWERTY keyboard, that app is called Agile Keyboard and is already available for the watch. In addition to offering you a full keyboard layout on that tiny screen, Agile Keyboard supports hundreds of emoji (as the app description notes, these might look different from the ones on your phone, but the expressions will remain the same). Despite the small screen, typing using this keyboard isn’t a big hassle, though some will no doubt fall back on Samsung’s T9 keyboard, which also offers word prediction.

Agile Keyboard is available on the Gear Apps store as a 2.94 MB download and can be activated from the Settings » Input menu on the watch. Head into the store to get it on your Gear S2, and let us know how you find the experience of typing with a full QWERTY keyboard on a 1.2-inch display! We will update this post once Chat Hub goes online on the Gear App store.



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