Typing Special Characters on Android and the iPhone

android special characters thumbnailMy next game has foreign language in it. I’m currently in the process of adding German and Polish to… my secret project. Yet, it’s a bit frustrating to type special characters. I usually launch Windows Character Map and I try to locate the letters with little hats, dots, accents and slashes. From there, I copy and paste the letters that I need. If this process seems archaic, I was even more bewildered when I wanted to send special characters via text messaging. I wondered if it was even possible. Generally, I have low expectations for mobile device performance. Yet, it was actually much easier to type special characters on Android than it was on my PC.

So, what’s the secret? Basically, just press and hold the letter that you want to have a special character. Say you want to put a little hat on the letter “a”. You just hold the “a” key and wait for the menu to pop up. From there, you can select the special addition you want to add… like ogoneks, diaereses, macrons, circumflexes, tildes and strokes. Even if you don’t have an Android device with a physical keyboard, the on-screen keyboard should work.

By holding a letter on an Android phone, an Insert Character menu appears.

So hey… if Android’s on-screen keyboard worked for inserting special characters, shouldn’t Apple’s iPhone do the same thing? So, I picked up my iPod Touch and I held down a key on the on-screen keyboard.

It worked! :-)

Holding down the letter "E" on my iPod Touch also displayed special characters.

Well, I had actually had done this before. Yet, I forgotten about this cool feature. Since English is my primary (and pretty much only) language, I don’t use accents too often. Heh, but the next time I have to type the words résumé or cliché from my phone, I should be more prepared!

And just for fun, I also tried holding down a key on my Windows PC keyboard. But all I got was this…

eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

So, that makes me wonder. Are mobile phones becoming easier to use than traditional desktop computers? That’s a bit insane to consider, but it seems possible. I don’t like being tethered to my desk. I like the idea of being to make a couch my office chair and my TV a computer monitor. If all I have to do is point my phone in the right direction, it seems that my future is going to be a lot more comfortable.

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