24
Sep
313920-swype-logo
Last Updated: October 6th, 2011

 

Greetings, dear reader! Tell me, how happy are you with your current keyboard? Autocorrect got you down? Looking for something a little different? Well, AP is here to help. Crack those knuckles and  wipe down that screen, 'cause we're doing a keyboard shootout.

I'll bet you the keyboard is your most used app, and you don't even realize it.  Just think of all the searches, texts, and notes you poke out on a daily basis. Any improvement would be a big time saver. Luckily, everyone seems to think the keyboard is broken, and that they can improve on it. There's an almost endless line of companies claiming to reinvent the keyboard, with a newcomer every few months. The innovation and choice in this space can make it pretty confusing. So, what's good and what isn't?

We're swinging for the fences in the first edition of the Keyboard Shootout . It's time take a look at the biggest name in Android keyboards: Swype.

How It Works

Swype wants to replace individual key presses with one continuous finger motion across the keyboard. You put your finger on the screen, and, without taking it off, draw a line from one letter to another to spell your word. So for "wet," draw a straight line from "w" to "t" on your keyboard. While you are "swyping" a blue line shows where your finger has traveled, and lifting up from the keyboard denotes a finished word. Swype is one of the only "Word based" keyboards out there. Most other keyboards type letter by letter, but you don't get to see anything until you lift your finger and Swype presents you with it's autocorrected word. This has some advantages, like automatic spacing between words, and some disadvantages, in the form of less control for the user.

index

Installation

Who cares, right? Well, Swype warrants a special installation section because of how strange it is. Installing Swype is going to be either really easy or really hard. On many phones it comes preinstalled. If this is you, you're done! Everyone else, get ready to jump through some hoops. It's not available in the Android Market, so you can stop searching. You have to go to beta.swype.com, and register for the beta. Then you'll get an email. Click on the email link (on your phone only) and download, not Swype, but the Swype Installer. After installing the installer, login to the installer, then you can download and install Swype. It's the most convoluted installation process I've ever come across. This is a horrible way to introduce yourself to new users, Swype. Why not have a running beta in the Market?

High Highs And Low Lows

Swype has what I like to call a "high assumption" style of input. Your blue spaghetti isn't exactly definitive; there's lots of room for interpretation when turning it into a word. So Swype will mostly live or die on the strength of it's spaghetti interpretation engine. This is the exact opposite of a desktop keyboard, which is dumb as rocks and makes no assumption about what you’re typing. For instance, If you want to type “kwyjibo” on a desktop keyboard, it will let you. Swype on the other hand, will say “Oh no, that’s not in the dictionary, what you really meant was ‘Lenovo’.” This can be frustrating.

So how is Swype's interpretation engine? Well, it depends on what you're doing. Swype is rock solid when it comes to longer words. Actually, I would say, the longer the word, the better Swype does. And it should, as a word gets longer there are fewer possible words to choose from. Small words, on the other hand are really a toss up. “All” frequently becomes “ask” or “AOL” or “ASL”. Sometimes Swype just isn't sure what I want.

When Swype does work, it's a blast. It's impressive and even a little fun to see the pace of word output when you have a string of correct assumptions. Swype at it's peak is better than any other keyboard at it's peak. In a perfect world, Swype would be the best keyboard on the market. But we don't live in a perfect world. The speed of a keyboard is an average of it's high points and low points, and while Swype's high points are very high, it's low points are also very low; and frequent.

Adding Words To The Dictionary

Swype did a decent job of adding some of those words you think are words but really aren’t. It had no problem swyping Reddit, Atrix, YouTube, WordPress, it even picks up names from your contact list.

The reason for the heavy dictionary work is simple, if a word isn't in Swype's dictionary, there's no way you can Swype it. Swyping can only output a dictionary word, it's the only way it can make sense of your spaghetti style input. The problem comes in not knowing what is and isn't in the dictionary. That brings me to one of Swype's deep low points.

Most keyboards have a fast and simple way of entering a new word in the dictionary. Let's take a look at how the (mostly) stock Gingerbread keyboard handles the addition of a new word. In this case, "Picasa." The name of Google's photo brand.

screenshot-1316408447216  screenshot-1316408466624

In the left picture, "Picasa" is white, meaning it isn't in our dictionary. The bold, orange word, "Picasso", is what autocorrect will change our word to once we hit space. We don't want that, but luckily, we are have some options. Pressing on "Picasa" in the word bar will leave our typing as is, and pressing it a second time will add it to the dictionary. So you are given control in the form of two choices: "Do you want to keep this non-dictionary word?" and "Do you want to add this to the dictionary?". All this only added two extra presses to our typing. The traditional keyboard has handled this situation beautifully.

Here's the same situation with Swype:

screenshot-1316410372258

Pads. Really?

Swype basically has no solution for non-dictionary words. You are never given a choice to add "Picasa." You can scroll the word bar as far right as you want, it won't be there. You have to delete the whole word and type it out regularly, like a traditional keyboard. Having to switch typing styles in the middle of a sentence is incredibly jarring. Adding to this frustration is the fact that Swype is terrible at touch typing. If you type too quickly Swype will connect your last two finger points. If you touch the word to reposition the cursor because of a typo, Swype will take the word away and replace it with an autocorrected version, and since we're typing a word is doesn't know about, that autocorrection is way off. Other keyboards will let you reposition the cursor because they autocorrect on a spacebar press. Autocorrecting on a cursor reposition is just wrong.

Corrections is where Swype's speed promise goes out the window. 2 extra presses on the traditional keyboard becomes 9 on Swype (Swype key to select the previous word, backspace, "picasa", double tap to add in the wordbar). Not to mention there is always uncertainty when this happens: Did you spell the word wrong? Was your swiping a little too messy? Is it just not in the dictionary? There's no way to know, so you'll usually end up swyping a non-dictionary word twice, then resigning to poke it in and add it to the dictionary.  The worst part is, this interrupts your train of thought. You were thinking about what you were typing, now you have to think about Swype, and what went wrong.

Bonus Section, Hidden Panels!

screenshot-1316912620817

Ok Swype, this is cool. Can we get this as a standard feature on every keyboard? Editing on a phone is usually terrible, but this helps out a lot. It's got arrow keys, easy to use select text and copy and paste, it's very nice. I didn't originally include it because it's so hidden. I had no idea it existed. How do you think you bring this up? Another panel button under "123"? Nope. To access it you swype from the Swype key to SYM. Who's idea was it to make this so hidden? Especially on a keyboard that rarely uses the space key, just make it a slot smaller! Or replace the language key, make that a hidden gesture. And speaking of hidden panels, there's also a second number panel:

screenshot-1316913736369

Thanks to polo79 for pointing this out. You can get to it by swyping from the SYM key to the F/5 key. I actually like this quite a bit more than the regular number pad.

Auto Incorrect

A typo on your end is similarly disruptive. On a normal keyboard a typo or misspelling means one or two letters to fix, but on Swype it means an entirely different word. Which means deleting an entire word instead of getting on with your message.  Corrections on Swype are just so devastating to your WPM and train of thought. I'll be cruising along, getting a very nice word per minute count, when suddenly, I screw up, or Swype screws up, and everything comes to a halt. It's like driving a really fast car that crashes easily.

If you aren't the greatest speller, Swype is not the keyboard for you. Even the crappiest spell check could correct "beleave" to "believe," but Swype is more likely to give you "Beltane." The person on the other end of the line could easily understand "I beleave you," but "I Beltane you" is much less clear. Personally, as a pretty bad speller myself, I had a feeling Swype was actively trolling me at times.

There are also times when Swype just feels... broken.

screenshot-1316489703906

What is this I don't even.

I can understand confusing "ask" and "all" but how did Swype get "Atoll" from the above drawing? I'm no where near the "T" or "O". Problems like this make me think I'll never get as good with Swype as I am with a regular virtual keyboard. How many errors like this are there?

The one missing feature that would be an absolute revolution for Swype is a grammar check. Swype doesn't do anything with the surrounding context, and when you are deciding between "Ask" and "AOL" that is exactly the information you need. The technology is out there. Microsoft Word has a pretty amazing grammar check. I understand it's unfair to ask Swype to be as good as a desktop program, but I would like to see some progress in this area. It should be able to figure out "Can I AOL you a question?" is wrong.

Inconsistencies And A Lack Of Trust

As I said before, Swype automatically adds spaces for you. In fact, you almost never use the space bar, It's almost unnecessary. Since this section is titled "Inconsistencies," you can probably tell what I'm going to say next, Swype automatically adds spaces for you... sometimes.

The Google Search app can take URLs or search terms. Here, Swype automatically adds spaces. In the browser bar, which also takes URLs or search terms, Swype does not automatically add spaces. So it is very difficult to type URLs in the Google app, and difficult to type searches in the browser. The two bars function exactly the same way, but they are in different places, so Swype acts differently.

Trying to type a web address when Swype wants to auto space is much harder than you imagine. Just hit backspace after every word you say? Nope. That would work if Swype added spaces to the end of a word, but it doesn't. It adds spaces to the front of a word. So for "Androidpolice.com" You can swype "Android", but you won't have a space to delete. Next, enter "police" which inserts "_police". Then ".com". Now you have to click in front of the "P" (you will probably miss the first time) and hit backspace. Congratulations, you have now entered your URL. Why doesn't Swype delete the space after ".com" is typed? That makes it pretty clear we are entering a URL, and URLs never have spaces. You can turn off auto spacing everywhere, but that takes away most of Swype's value in the speed department.

Ok! Pop quiz! In which of the following fields does Swype not automatically add spaces? A. The search bar, or B. The browser bar? Oh you don't remember? You need to remember. You need to commit all of Swype's little quirks to memory if you want to be fast or efficient. And this is my major complaint with Swype. It's all very inconsistent. Between the space or no space nonsense and the all too frequent damn-you-autocorrect moments, there is no trust. I never know what it going to happen when I Swype a word. I find myself double and triple checking my sentences, worried that Swype will be putting words in my mouth. You end up swyping one word, then stopping and waiting to see what Swype will do to it.

The Bottom Line

Typing with Swype is much less a flow of words and more a correction fest. If you bang out a whole paragraph and try to go back to correct, it's hard to remember what you meant, because, again, one typo becomes an entirely different word. I feel almost disconnected from the typing. Like I tell Swype what I want and Swype outputs a sort-of close approximation of what I wanted. When it does well, it's super fast, but when it does poorly, it's super slow. Other keyboards are much less of a words per minute roller coaster.

A good keyboard should fade into the background and be a silent conduit between your thoughts and your phone. But Swype feels front and center all the time. Autocorrect is supposed to help out, but Swype's only seems to make things worse. Correcting whole word typos takes much more brain and finger power than a single letter typo. That not only slows down my typing, but interrupts my train of thought.

The potential for crazy fast typing is there, though. Swype probably gives me the most words per minute of any keyboard, but often those words are not the ones I wanted. Some of this is my fault, and some of it is Swype's. My earlier analogy was very apt: Swype is a very fast, very unforgiving sports car. With lots of dictionary entry, a killer sense of spelling and a steady, smooth hand, Swype could be pretty good. The error prone need to stay far away. So I guess the question is, if Swype is a car, how good of a driver are you?

Pros:

  • It's Free.
  • It's different. A whole new way to type.
  • Very fast words per minute, when it works.

Cons:

  • Close words are a tossup.
  • Any mistake is harshly punished. A one letter typo becomes a whole word typo.
  • Spell check, compared to traditional keyboards, is almost non-existent.
  • You can only Swype dictionary words. Non-dictionary words have to be entered with traditional typing. Changing typing styles mid sentence is very jarring.
  • All these problems take you out of "the zone" and interrupt your train of thought.

If you're still interested in riding the WPM roller coaster, the line for Swype starts here.

Ron Amadeo
Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
  • Saul

    If only there was a swiping version of Swiftkey X, holy crap. Can you even fathom it?!

    • NuLL.n.VoiD

      Try FlexT9. It has Swype capability with SwiftKey precision plus a few extra features.

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

        I tried it - it's nowhere near as good as Swiftkey in the prediction area. Nothing comes close.

    • Dustin

      TouchPal tries to do this but not very well. It does have some potential though.

  • http://twitter.com/modah modah

    Great review. I've been using Swype for a long time on a 3.7" screen and I'm not entirely happy with it. However, all other keyboards always made me go back to Swype sooner or later. You have pointed out Swypes weaknesses nicely and I hope the developers put your thoughts to good use.

  • polo79

    the major thing you forgot is the fact that Swype allows easy one handed typing. it is the ONLY viable option for that! there are countless of paragraphs that I have typed faster than you typing two handed in landscape. that's cool dude. and you didn't mention one of my favorite features of Swype. Swyping from the symbol key to the number 5 region of the keyboard brings up a number keypad. its seamless.

    • Ron Amadeo

      I added a new section about the extra panels. Thanks for pointing that out. I like the hidden number pad better than the regular one.

      My go-to one handed input is text to speech.. still want to race? =P

      • polo79

        thanks for the props in the article! oh and I totally forgot about the arrow panel. i'm glad you did more digging and found that as well cause its definitely handy. Swype is not perfect but its an option in this not so perfect world.

    • Erik Neu

      I totally agree. Don't know why this point is always overlooked. Portrait mode is perfect for Swype--less distance to cover. I would LOVE to have Swype for Portrait, and Swiftkey for landscape. (There is an XDA rooted phone mod for different keyboards by orientation, but I didn't have motivation to look into it.)

  • http://bit.ly/collinbpage LePeR

    Check out TouchPal Keyboard.. its my new Swype replacement :)

    https://market.android.com/details?id=com.cootek.smartinputv5

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

      Yup, it's on the list. To be honest, I uninstalled it about an hour later.

  • Ksoul

    I've used Swype, FlexT9 and Swift. FlexT9 is the best no question.

  • PhineasJW

    Great review. I'm a Swype user and agree with all your points. I love it, but *dread* having to deviate from what's stored in the dictionary, and will often change my thoughts to keep away from any proprietary words.

    BTW, remember that Google bought BlindType last year. Maybe we'll see some keyboard improvements with ICS.

    http://androinica.com/2010/10/google-acquires-on-screen-keyboard-company-blindtype/

  • http://denh.am DrMacinyasha

    Wow. I found this "review" quite lacking. It seems like the author just didn't do any research; he just downloaded the installer, installed Swype, then started using it without reading anything beyond the basic tutorial to try and find answers to questions. For example:

    >It's the most convoluted installation process I've ever come across. This is a horrible way to introduce yourself to new users, Swype. Why not have a running beta in the Market?

    I've seen worse installation processes (You should've tried the root options for Cerberus before it had a flashable ZIP). Also, if you look in the Swype Beta FAQ, they address the concern of placing Swype in the Market:

    --------------------

    How can I buy Swype? / When will Swype be on the Android market?

    We have considered a direct-download sales model, but there are two challenges to that approach:
    Customer Support. Providing Swype users with the level of professional support they deserve is a priority for us. We're still a small (but quickly growing!) company, and we don't have the resources necessary to support a full end-user sales model. It is much more efficent for us to focus on improving Swype and to partner with large organizations like Samsung and T-Mobile who already have customer support structures in place.
    Device integration. Swype isn't just an app; it's a keyboard - the most widely used piece of software on a device. It interacts with nearly every single application on the phone. As such, it's more like a system component than an application. For each device release we do a tremendous amount of testing and we *always* find issues due to the varying components - the OS version, the device hardware, the OEM UI implementation, etc. In addition, some features can't be implemented without an OEM's engineering assistance. We end up doing a large amount of work on each device to be sure that you have a great experience entering text using Swype.
    So, we appreciate your enthusiasm, but we are not ready to do direct-downloads at this time.

    --------------------

    On top of that, if you had talked to Neatchee (aka @Swype on Twitter), he could've easily linked you to the FAQ, informed you that it's against the Market's ToS to place the Swype Installer on the Android Market, and all of their deals/business model is tied to selling Swype to OEMs as a feature for their phone. That's why the beta is called a Beta: It's where they test out new features and find bugs so they can make stable versions for OEMs.

    The complaints about how Swype handles non-dictionary words also seems over the top. A few minutes working with Swype or reading the FAQ, and you'd know that if you Swype a word which isn't in the dictionary, you can just long-press Backspace to delete the previous word, tap it out, then tap on the word you wrote in the HWCL twice, and it'll be added to the dictionary. Just a few minutes with Swype can give you a good feeling for what's in the dictionary.

    Likewise, dealing with mis-interpretations of your Swyping is largely due to poor grammar/spelling (something you should know quite well after your sixth year in public education or reading one book per year of your life), or similar words ("or" and "our", "the" and "thee" and "three"). The latter of which can be easily avoided thanks to an easy tip that's presented in the Swype tips pictures and videos: What I like to call "drooping" below your letters. You go to a letter, droop your line down on your way to the next letter, and repeat, making a sort of looping motion along the way. You can find that your accuracy dramatically increases by doing this. I've reached well over 40 WPM thanks to Swype on my phone. With your example picture where Swype returned "Atoll", take a close look at your trace line. It dips up near T, then back down towards L... Right at O. Because of this little upwards curve, it got confused. As for your complaints with Swype not picking up on context/grammar, you WON'T be complaining about that with the next Beta.

    In regards to the search/address bar, this is a quite well-known bug with Swype that's (hopefully) to be addressed by the next Beta version. One of the difficulties though is that manufacturer overlays have a tendency to change how input fields are labeled and interacted with, so Swype can get confused about it. This is why Swype gets so heavily customized when pre-installed on a phone: It gets tweaked and tuned to that device's hardware, as well as any coding changes made by the manufacturer with things like input fields. If you REALLY want to get a good test of Swype Beta, use it on an AOSP ROM like CyanogenMod.

    If you'd like to re-do this review, and maybe get some more facts corrected, chat with @Swype, or join #swype on Freenode. Neatchee and a few other Swype techs are in there during business hours and sometimes on the weekends. They're extremely helpful and more than willing to answer your questions.

    • Ron Amadeo

      The "Device Integration" is a cute PR line and all, but if it were true they wouldn't offer a beta that anyone can download on any device. If it is true they are releasing an inferior product.

      I don't want the installer in the market, I want the app in the market, like every other keyboard. Installation is really a tiny part of a keyboard though, its not a big deal, just worth mentioning.

      Entering new dictionary words is harder than other keyboards and spell check is worse than other keyboards.

      The "atoll" picture is ridiculous and inexcusable, sorry.

      Please let me know about any specific facts that need correcting.
      Thanks

      • http://denh.am DrMacinyasha

        The device integration is quite real. Swype has to be customized, and the stock software tweaked so they're all compatible with each other (For example, Swype 3.x won't step on TouchWiz 4.0's little pop-up after tapping on a word twice). The Beta is a "universal" app that's just DPI-specific (yes, there's different versions for qHD, WVGA, etc.). It's not "inferior" per se, just doesn't integrate as cleanly with the ROM.

        Like I said prior, the app can't be placed in the Market because of how Swype's business model works: They sell Swype to the OEM as a feature to be included in their devices (just like Vlingo does with Samsung, Telenav with Sprint, and so on). The Beta is for them to test new features and discover problems with various devices. From what I've heard, they're barely getting away with having the open Beta (thus why it's been closed in the past for several months at a time), and the OEMs' insistence that Swype be a "premium" app for their phones is why the Beta requires registration.

        The spell check and gesture recognition builds up over time. Just like SwiftKey, it can take a week or more for Swype to really start jamming for you. The next Beta build will be more so thanks to some new features being rolled out.

        As for the "Atoll" example, I'm just stating why it did what it did; it saw the upward then downward motions in the trace, and tried to interpret it as best it could. In a normal scenario, you could just hold the Backspace key for a second, and then re-Swype, being careful to not have the extra motion. Like I said in the past comment, a small downward dip between letters really helps Swype understand what you want by peaking up to the letters you're trying to hit.

    • PhineasJW

      Why should an end-user/reviewer need to hunt down and contact anyone on Twitter just to figure out how to install and use a product??

      It's usability stands on it's own merits, whether or not someone has a Twitter or Facebook account. Does the iPhone crowd need to hunt down @SJobs to figure out how to use some feature?

      And Swype is unabashedly a mess to install. I personally have to play all sorts of trial-and-error uninstall/remove-app games every time an update comes out.

      And, your defense of the "Atoll" swype is beyond ludicrous. Like, ludicrous bordering on fanaticism.

      Swype is good. Better than the default keyboard once you get used to it, but it's NOT even close to perfect, and this review pointed out some of the many frustrations with it.

      • http://denh.am DrMacinyasha

        "Why should an end-user/reviewer need to hunt down and contact anyone on Twitter just to figure out how to install and use a product??"

        Typically when you can't figure out how to operate something, and can't get an answer from documentation, you go to the expert. In this kind of case, 95% of answers can be found from reading the tutorial or FAQs (something which doesn't seem to have been done here), and the rest by just asking the manufacturers. Plus to those who actually /look/ for answers, it's fairly well known that Neatchee is active with the community, chatting with people all the time on @Swype, doing an AMA on r/android a few months ago, and constantly in the #Swype IRC room helping people, along with a few other volunteers and employees.

        "It's usability stands on it's own merits, whether or not someone has a Twitter or Facebook account. Does the iPhone crowd need to hunt down @SJobs to figure out how to use some feature?"

        Usability doesn't mean jack if someone can't read directions. Furthermore, iPhone users have constantly tried to get a hold of Steve Jobs because of issues with Apple products. Remember "You're holding it wrong."?

        "And Swype is unabashedly a mess to install. I personally have to play all sorts of trial-and-error uninstall/remove-app games every time an update comes out."

        1) Uninstall Swype and SwypeInstaller
        2) Install SwypeInstaller
        3) Install Swype via SwypeInstaller
        4) ???
        5) PROFIT!

        (BTW, that is also documented on Swype's site, forums, blog posts, and in several tweets by @Swype. There's even special instructions on how root users can copy their dictionaries version-to-version. Plus the next Beta may even be making it easier to update with any luck.)

        "And, your defense of the "Atoll" swype is beyond ludicrous. Like, ludicrous bordering on fanaticism."

        Fact is fact. I've explained what the keyboard saw, and how it interpreted it. Like I also said, a downward motion, then peaking up on letters that you want makes Swype insanely accurate, so when it sees an upward motion in traces, it interprets accordingly.

  • xFKNxWillisx

    I've been using Swype since my I Optimus. I absolutely love it. I have tried other keyboards and like others have said i end up back with Swype in the end.
    one thing that does bug me is the auto capitalization it has on certain words. and the install is a small pain.

  • TomRowly

    SlideIT is probably the best keyboard I have ever used on any phone. It is very similar to Swype, but has support for themes and, by default, if you press backspace after sliding a word, it deletes the whole word. This is VERY useful because a mistake in this type of typing usually gives you a completely incorrect word, instead of just a single letter.

    • VonDerThWood

      Yeah, SlideIT is similar to Swype in a ton of ways but I prefer it. It's not free, like Swype, and it has a lot of the same flaws as Swype, but I prefer it.

      Like TomRowly said, by default if you press backspace when putting a wrong word, it deletes the entire word. Very useful.

      Also, if you're typing a word that SlideIT's dictionary does not recognize at ALL (in other words, you get confused in your spelling or something), it won't put a random word up. It'll just show you three question marks.

      The themes support on SlideIT are limited to what they put out, but at least it's customizable.

      Basically, yeah, it's just Swype with a few features here and there (like customizable shortcuts; tap on the highlighted suggestion and it'll replace the suggestion with a preset correction [IDK turns into I don't know]), but it's not too shabby. Adding new words is easier than Swype in my opinion, because all you have to do is tap anywhere on the word and hit a plus sign in the suggestion box (or in some cases, before you space to the next word, just hit the plus sign).

      It may be worth looking into.

  • MikeD

    Personally I'd really like to see them add a hide keyboard feature. I went hunting around for a way to do that for quite a while.

    I know it sounds crippling at first, but I'm a tactile typer so I have BT keyboards at home and work. So I ended up with keyboards blocking either a large part of the screen or out right most it.

    I ultimately found WiiControllerIME and set it as the input method.

    • MikeD

      I know its a bit odd to want a keyboard app to add a feature to eliminate the keyboard. But I guarantee its a feature no other keyboard app has. :-)

  • Manish

    I love swype...if you want to add new entry just type it and hit space ...and it is entered in the dictionary...

  • Umberto

    I still think that Smart Keyboard Pro is the best option out there. Tried them all, but SKP seems to be the most precise on every tap, while Swiftkey is very inaccurate(on the other side it has the predictions though, but I hate tapping on a letter and seeing another coming up). Swype seems to be good for me only in those occasion when I can't use both hands. Otherwise, two-thumbs typing is the fastest way

  • hkb

    Swype came pre-installed on my phone, but i cant get the beta versions. :/

    • http://denh.am DrMacinyasha

      If you root your phone, you can delete the /system/app/Swype.apk and /system/lib/libSwypeCore.so then reboot. Afterwards, the SwypeInstaller will allow you to download the Beta.

  • Nik

    I've been using Swype for last 5 months now, and as you pointed out, it has it's own issues. But there are simple workarounds for that...Like for small words, I rather type them out, and I've never found the issue of wrong letters selected by swype.

    Two things you missed out though -
    1. To stop auto-spacing, glide from Space to Backspace
    2. Putting tabs - Just long press Spacebar

    And two greatest things about Swype -
    1. I can use it while I'm sitting in a car, the infinite potholes on our roads (India) don't create any hiccups!

    AND...

    2. It's pretty darn cool to use it in an elevator full of people, and seeing everyone awestruck! :)

  • Rogue2204

    I can't disagree more on this article. Adding new words to Swype is a breeze. Just type the word out with the regular keyboard and an option to add it to the dictionary pops right up, once its added you can Swype it... There is a great videos section on Swype's website that will illustrate this.

    http://www.swype.com/category/about/about-videos/

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

      Yes, as he said, you have to type it out - that's not the point. You've just swyped a word, and if it's not there, you now have to repeat the word, except by typing it out. I can see how that could get kind of annoying.

  • Mike

    Shapewriter is still the best, to this day even after being discontinued (it actually was bought up and then became resurrected as Flex T9 I believe). I have them all installed (SwiftKey/Flex T9/Swype/Shapewriter) but I always find myself going back to Shapewriter as a default.

    Still runs bug free on my rooted Tbolt running Bamf 3.0/4.9.

  • Owen Finn

    When you type in a word that isn't in Swype's dictionary, you enter it by "pecking", and then choose to add it to your dictionary. Then, next time... it usually comes up as an option.

    The responsible thing to do would be to make an edit to your review to reflect that fact, you know...

    • Ron Amadeo

      "You have to delete the whole word and type it out regularly, like a traditional keyboard."

      ?

  • Danny

    Excellent article. A lot of it rings true, especially how trying to swype out the words disconnects you from what you're trying to say. Although, the more you do it, the easier it is. I've been using Swype for more than a year now, and it's almost second nature. I still make some annoying mistakes on it, but for me it's much faster and more accurate than traditional tap typing....unless you use Swiftykey X which is an excellent keyboard, very accurate and the predictive typing helps a lot. But it's not as "fun" to type on as Swype is in my opinion. That's just my 2 cents.

  • Kris

    ShapeWriter owns all keyboards........ Get the apk, its not in the market no more.

  • jason

    i think the swype beta has updated correctly for me once out of about 4 updates. even worse is that when there's an update swype stops swyping. the installer currently is just in a loop where it checks and finds an installer update available, installs it and then says the same thing.

    it's also annoying that the word prediction doesn't seem to take into account word frequency in typical language usage.

    i hope this article series provides me with a new option. i think swype has gotten steadily worse with every new release.

  • wfrandy

    I used Swype exclusively for about six months, and I never could get past all of the flaws mentioned in this article. I began to think that the swype style keyboard wasn't for me, but decided to give them all a try before giving up. In the end, the problem was Swype, once I started using Shapewriter, I quickly realized that it wasn't a problem with the swype style of input method, it was just that Swype did it so poorly. Unfortunately, Shapewriter is no longer being supported.

    I am currently trying SwiftKey X, but I am beginning to think, after using it for a couple of weeks, that I will switch back to the Gingerbread keyboard, and be done with it.

  • GraveUypo

    on phone-to-phone text i just toss whatever swype gives me. if the other person knows im using swype, they pretty much understand everything even if most my words get corrected to something retarded.

    its not that bad for me though, i get pretty decent accuracy with swype.

  • Johnforamerica

    I've got a swype issue that's driving me crazy and I can barely find a mention of it anywhere, let alone a solution.  Specifically, there seems to be a bug with the text replace function in the stock android email app.  It's INSERTING instead of REPLACING.

    When I tap a word to correct, the word is highlighted and the horizontal bar with suggestions appears above the keypad as expected. However, when I press the suggested word I want, two problematic issues arise:

    -that entire word is inserted wherever the cursor was BEFORE I tapped the original word that I wanted to replace.

    -the word is inserted without erasing the original word I was replacing.

    For example: say I type "main" but, after typing a few more words, I realize I wanted "Maine". So I tap the word "main" and luckily my desired replacement pops up in the suggested words bar. I tap that, but instead of replacing "main" with "Maine", it inserts/appends the new word. So if the cursor was in the middle of the original word, the result is "maMainein". If the cursor is elsewhere, it does the same thing at that location.

    Quick info: Sprint Epic Touch 4G, android 2.3.6, gingerbread.ek02

    Bug happens ONLY in android stock email app.

    • E

      Try double-tapping the word to highlight it, then replacing the word.

      I have that issue though too... amongst about a billion others. God forbid someone texts you in the middle of a Swype. All hell breaks loose :-/

      • John

        Thanks for the reply E. I ended up just using MailDroid instead.

  • zaggle

    biggest issue I have with Swype is that I can't put a carraige return in a SMS, am I just missing something stupid? I just can't find out how to do it, but I find it har to believe that it can't be done. The carraige return is present when writing a mail or a note but it is replaced with a smiley in an sms... drives me crazy

  • John Anderton

    >>Personally, as a pretty bad speller myself

    You are correct. You have spelled 'its' wrongly throughout this article.

  • Andrew

    Dude you're crazy, swype is awesome. The only reason I switched to android was because of it. I guess like everything else in life it takes a while to master, but once you do; say goodbye to frustration.