I figured it out, but they screwed something else up in the system and must have disabled it on purpose...
if i select a different keyboard the input box expands to take up the entire screen when i click on it!
So if you have an alt keyboard selected and you hit the search key, you can't see the history below, or the icons next to the box to do the voice search/location selection!!!
see attached image
Very annoying.. wasted an entire day to figure this out. I suppose it wasn't a total waste though I learned alot about the android core :)
Are there any other settings missing that people need? I might put together an app that will let you do this despite the annoying bug if people are still interested.
I already wrote an app like HomeCatcher, but it shows me the "recent apps" list, since you can't long-press the damn home-key anymore. Anybody interested in something like that?
BTW- since nobody spells out in plain english how to get the WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS permission, here it is for those of you hitting this page via Googling my error :)
1) You need to request the permission in your app manifest
2) the app has to be in /system/app/
3) it has to be owned by root w/ the correct permissions
(nobody tells you this part!)
4) when you reboot, the app will be automatically installed, and you will get the additional permissions (if it's already installed, you have to uninstall it before you reboot!)
5) you will NOT be able to uninstall the app after you do this (just delete it, but make SURE you manually 'clear cache' for the app in settings->applications->manage->yourapp before you delete it or all your extra settings data will be orphaned in memory!!)
mount -o remount,rw -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system
cat /sdcard/YourApp.apk > /system/app/YourApp.apk
chown 0.0 /system/app/YourApp.apk
chmod 0644 /system/app/YourApp.apk
mount -o remount,ro -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system