Well I couldn't wait til my next lunch hour to work on this, so when I got home I did a little search and found an open source project called softkeyboard which is a really nice soft keyboard with multi-language support and lots of great functionality including the predictive text function and user defined dictionary support I was looking for. Since it's quite a bit more complicated than Google's little sample keyboard it took me a bit to figure out how to get my FITALY layout integrated into it but I got it going in about an hour (while watching 24). Here it is running on my Nexus One:
Yea, I was pretty proud of my first hack of an Android app. But now that I got it on my phone how's it work? Well, to be honest, not as great as I thought it'd be. First, as you can see, the 6 row format takes quite a bit of screen real estate and the keys are already too small to 'thumbtype' like I wanted so making them any smaller is out. I'll give it a try for a week and see how I like it.