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Desperately looking for a way to launch apps from a physical keyboard or gamepad key shortcut. As I understand on the older Android versions there were a Quick Launch submenu in setting where you was able to assign a keyboard shortcut to any applications you wanted.

On Android 8 or above obviously there is no trace of such setting. AFAIK currently the only third-party application which can launch applications using external keyboard (w/o making use of accessibility services) is External Keyboard Helper. Very pity that this application hides the original soft keyboard which I still need. (Actually the Android device is a touch-only car head unit and the “external keyboard” is just an active frame with a couple of dedicated keys meant to launch music, radio, navigation etc., so that’s why I cannot get rid the on-screen keyboard.)

So I have 2 questions here:

  1. Do I have viable alternatives for External Keyboard Helper (that is, for launching apps from external keyboard shortcuts)? Note that any solutions using accessibility services is out of question as the head unit regularly kills any accessibility processes for safety reasons. 
  2. If not, is there an easy hack to have soft keyboard with External Keyboard Helper? The author doesn't respond to any requests anymore, so I have no ore support to get from.

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