One of the more popular tip-tap software keyboards got a nice little upgrade today. SwiftKey, an aftermarket keyboard that uses intelligent statistical methods as well as scanning of your SMS inbox to predict the most likely next word, now has support for multitouch typing. As seen previously on the Droid X’s keyboard, this greatly enhances possible typing speeds… unless you have one of HTC’s infamously erroneous older touchscreen panels, that is.



What, DroidSans not good enough for you?

Moving on with a more positive spin, SwiftKey claims to have nixed many bugs, as well as reducing or eliminating the lag that was plaguing some users. Having tried it on my Nexus One I can say that the response of the keyboard was indeed quite rapid, but the layout felt cramped, and I got some disturbingly random word predictions. With that said, SwiftKey did learn quickly from my gentle chiding (NO, I said HTC, not BYFLEET), and voice recognition worked reasonably well.

Note from Artem: The last Swiftkey update that introduced voice recognition in the first place was broken for many users - it output "##" every time you tried to say something. Glad to see this is finally working right.

Full changelog below:


The following features have been added in the latest SwiftKey Beta release for Android smartphones:

- Improved voice recognition integration
- Prototype multi-touch compatibility implementation
- Improved case handling
- Deactivated swipe-right VR launch function
- Reverted internal view class (suspected lag culprit)

The following bugs were fixed:

- java.lang.IllegalStateException: View com.android.internal.policy.impl.PhoneWindow
- java.lang.NullPointerException: com.touchtype.keyboard.service.TouchTypeSoftKeyboard.handleWordSeparator
- java.lang.NumberFormatException: unable to parse ‘a’ as integer at java.lang.Integer.parse
- java.lang.StringIndexOutOfBoundsException: at java.lang.String.substring

SwiftKey Beta is available as a free download on the Android Market.

QR code for market://details?id=com.touchtype.swiftkey.trial

Source: SwiftKey Blog

Brian O'Toole
Having learnt his writing techniques reading e-Books of Sherlock Holmes, Brian now spends his time /kicking, lurking, SSHing and encoding.
  • @amarquart

    what about directional keys if you don't have a trackball? i miss swype for this reason in any other third party keyboard on my evo.

  • haz

    I just installed SwiftKey and I have the same issue with this keyboard as I do with the built-in one on my X:


    Why do you need a smiley face key that's the SAME SIZE as the spacebar?!? Who thought that was a good idea? I might use one smiley face per message (if that), but I use the spacebar after EVERY WORD.

    Stop being all damn cutesy with the keyboard layout and make one that is USABLE. And where is the arrowkeys for fine-tuning your position in a block of text??

    Easily the best keyboard I have used is Smart Keyboard and the only thing keeping it from being perfect is that it's arrow keys are hidden 2 screens deep which is strange.

    I hate being so negative with my comment, but I keep on seeing keyboards and they screw up one of the most basic functions, and most often used keys (the spacebar, as well as the delete key and the enter key) just so they can squeeze in some silly emoticon key or other nonsense.

  • GergS

    haz - It's quite simple. Most of the keyboards auto-space after you choose a word, so the need for the space bar is lessened. You NEVER have to hit the space bar except for explicit extra spaces.

    Swiftkey was awesome when I used it on my N1. Best soft keyboard around.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Actually, I hit the spacebar the most because it also doubles as suggestion completion in most keyboards. I never had a problem with its width though.

      I do have a problem with Swiftkey and other keyboards not including an option to have the arrows on the main keyboard view, like the EVO keyboard does. For those of us without trackballs, it's very important. Swype has it but it's a click away and still too annoying.

  • http://www.anivision.org xcom923

    just FYI the QR code doesn't work. it's URL is wrong.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Fixed - sorry about that!

  • http://www.gotesdelluna.net Analog Eye

    The problem with this keyboard is that I write in several languages, and it doesn't allow to have more than one language installed... I wonder whether there will be a way to switch between languages quickly (like the stock froyo keyboard), once they come out of beta...

    For the moment, this problem is a showstopper for me.

  • David

    I need Russian & Hebrew - and then it will be perfect KB

  • Bob

    In the change log it is version 1.0.492 my latest version is 1.0.645. What gives?