What you need to know

  • SwiftKey Beta now has an Animoji-like feature called puppets.
  • Puppets lets you record messages as several animals.
  • The update also brings support for the Shan language.

SwiftKey Beta users can now play with Puppets, a 3-D animation feature that's similar to Animoji's on iOS (via Neowin). Users can record themselves as a dinosaur, cat, owl, dog, or panda and have their phone's camera track their face so SwiftKey can animate their facial movements.

Because Puppets is inside your keyboard, it works with just about any app, though the ease of use varies. For example, sending a video through Slack, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram requires you to select the recipient again even if you're already in a message thread with them.

As you can see in my test video, Puppets is still very rough. It doesn't track mouth movements very well and seems out of sync. It is in beta, so this will likely improve over time.

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In addition to the Puppets addition, SwiftKey Beta now also supports the Shan language. You can update SwiftKey Beta by checking for an update in the Google Play store.

Portable (and affordable) power accessories we love

Each and every one of these charging gadgets will keep your favorite gear and gadgets going for longer, and none of them costs more than $30.

VisionTek 8,000 mAh micro-USB power bank ($13 at Dell)

This compact dual-output powerbank can speedily recharge any and all your devices, thanks to a two-amp "fast charge feature," using its micro-USB out port. Its simple design includes an LED indicator, and it costs about as much as a single ticket to the movies.

Panasonic eneloop AA batteries (From $13 at Dell)

Panasonic's rechargeable batteries are among the best available, and just a couple of them will keep your favorite remote, mice or other peripherals powered up when you need them. They're also eco. And the company's affordable charger fits and charges both AA and AAA batteries at the same time.

Belkin Qi Wireless Charging Pad ($30 at Dell)

This unobtrusive Qi wireless charging pad looks good (and kind of like a UFO …) and easily charges all your Qi-compatible device up to 5W. Its LED indicator lights up when you're charging. And it costs just $30.

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