06
Dec
2[5]

Back in late October, SwiftKey announced a new feature called Flow for its hyper-intelligent keyboard. SwiftKey Flow takes everything you (and I) love about SK, and combines it with gesture typing, like that of Swype, or the Android 4.2 stock keyboard. Then, just a few days ago, they debuted the newest feature that would be available in Flow - called Flow Through Space - which allows users to swipe through full sentences without having to lift their finger from the keyboard by sliding down to the spacebar after each word. Not only is that intuitive and brilliant, but I've been using Flow for the last few days, and it works pretty flawlessly.

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Now, it's your turn to give it a shot. SwiftKey just made available the beta version of this intuitive new keyboard for all of its VIP members to test out. Not a member? No biggie - head right here to get set up and grab SK Flow beta.

Update: It looks like the link is available to everyone and not just VIP users, contrary to what the press release below suggests.

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Android Keyboard SwiftKey Flow Launches in Beta with New ‘Flow Through Space’ Feature

London and San Francisco -- Dec 6, 2012 — The team behind Android’s best-selling app today releases the beta of SwiftKey Flow, its hotly anticipated keyboard that enables users to type with gestures.

SwiftKey Flow combines the mind-reading capabilities of SwiftKey’s prediction engine with the speed and style of gliding your finger across the screen. The beta also includes a brand new feature, dubbed “Flow Through Space” (see it at http://youtu.be/QA4BqwNGSoc). With it, users can write entire sentences without having to lift their finger from the keyboard, simply by gliding down to the spacebar before continuing with their next word.

SwiftKey Flow takes a revolutionary approach to gesture typing, analyzing a user’s input from the moment they start to ‘flow’ a word. It offers real-time predictions, easing the frustration of entering long words and delivering a dynamic, interactive typing experience. The app also features SwiftKey’s award-winning next-word predictions once a gesture is complete, based on the keyboard’s knowledge of a user’s writing habits.

“SwiftKey Flow is another incredible leap forward for keyboard technology,” CTO and co-founder Dr Ben Medlock said. “Flow Through Space is a unique innovation. Accurately identifying several words from a single gesture is a really complex challenge and I’m delighted our team has made this key breakthrough. With SwiftKey Flow, gesture typing is now so simple you won’t have to lift a finger.”

The beta is being released to SwiftKey’s 75,000-strong community of VIP users and is a key milestone before SwiftKey Flow is made available to all Android consumers. New members are encouraged to join the VIP community and get access to SwiftKey Flow at http://www.swiftkey.net/flow.

“Our community is a vital part of this process,” community manager Evan Tapper said. “We rely on their feedback to ensure the product is in the best possible shape before it hits the market. But it’s about more than that - it’s about engaging with our users and building products that people really love to use.”

A No.1 bestselling app on Google Play in 38 countries, SwiftKey is available in 45 languages and counting. It has been downloaded more than 15 million times. For more information about SwiftKey visit www.swiftkey.net.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, and musician. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6- or 7-string, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • CFenton

    have been using it once i found it and love it

  • defred34

    Who's gonna give us some APKs?

    PS: I remember last time round you guys provided some APK download links. so I'd appreciate if you guys did that again.

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

      Huh? The link that contains both phone and tablet APKs is right in the post.

      • CA719

        hey, give him a break, reading is hard :/

      • defred34

        Ok, my bad. It is literally hidden (sandwiched rather) between the post and the press release. Last time round, there were a few links at the bottom of the article, so I was looking for that. My bad again!

        Update: I was also looking for mirrored links actually. I saw the link top Swiftkey's website first time round but I thought you had to sign up. :)

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

          I added a fat picture that's linked as well now just so it's more obvious.

          • Tim Kermode

            Those links don't work for me, I just get a failed download straight away downloading on my phone.

          • Tim Kermode

            looool nevermind for some reason downloads are going to my SD card these days.

            And it's full...

  • http://twitter.com/torresmjr Marcos Torres

    I'm impressed :O

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

    I really like it, except for one thing that kills it for me at the moment - the erase word swipe left gesture is gone, and that to me is more important than swiping.

    If they figured out how to keep it in while having Flow on, I would start using it. Until then, back to regular SK for me (or you can turn off Flow in settings if you want).

    • defred34

      Wow. I have been using Swiftkey for the longest time but never knew this feature? Just tried it and it works...makes me look like some dumb bloke. Pffft. Thanks Artem anyways.

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

        Yeah, can't use any keyboards that don't have this anymore. It really speeds up typing by a LOT.

        • Tim Kermode

          Wow they took delete out.. very bad idea as that's one of the best features!
          As above a gesture through the backspace could cover this although another keyboard uses that method so they may not want to..

          It needs it.

          • http://www.facebook.com/jbeats Joe Braidwood

            Hi guys - it's impossible to properly detect trace input and swipe-to-delete, at least as we know it. It's a trade-off. But please do leave this feedback in our VIP community and we'll try our best.

          • http://twitter.com/Letsan Rodrigo Chiong

            What if the delete swype comes from the right screen edge ? Dont know if its possible but it'd great if it worked

          • Mario

            Or maybe even the delete/backspace key. That would kind of make sense, no? Take it a step further, and implement the SK key into it; swipe from the backspace key to the SK key and delete a whole sentence.

        • PhilNelwyn

          Doesn't it speed up editing rather than typing?
          And a LOT? Come on...
          You'd have to type every word twice for it to make a noticeable difference, compared to holding backspace.
          If you delete the last word that often, use Swype, it only takes one tap to do it.

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

            It actually speeds up by a lot for me. I never look at the keyboard when I type anything, including deleting the last word. And there is nothing to wait for - it doesn't introduce any mental delays.

            When you hold backspace, first you need to make sure you're hitting the right key by looking, which results in a delay, then followed by a delay while you wait. Even more delays if you're deleting multiple words (it's faster to swipe a few times then to play Russian roulette with the backspace key in case you don't let go fast enough). Finally, if you do hit the wrong key and it's not backspace, now you have to deal with deleting whatever you pressed too.

            Overall, swipe-to-delete is a must for me now. More important than swiping/flow.

          • PhilNelwyn

            Wow, man... where have you been? :)
            Thank you for replying, you didn't answer my question, but I actually didn't need you to answer it, as its clear that it's not typing that you think swipe-to-delete makes faster, but editing.
            If you make no mistake, if you just actually type, that saves you nothing.

            "[...]first you need to make sure you're hitting the right key by looking, which results in a delay[...]"
            Excuse me but your argumentation isn't very consistent here.
            On one hand you say that you know your keyboard so well that you "never look at it to type anything," and on the other hand you argue that you'd lose too much time searching for backspace?

            "[...]then followed by a delay while you wait. Even more delays if you're deleting multiple words[...]"
            Well, it's not "more delays" as you just have to look at the keyboard (and wait for deletion to start) once.
            About waiting, as theching14 mentioned above, you can change the long-press duration in settings.
            It sounds like you didn't try long-press deletion in Swiftkey Flow beta, it's a lot more accurate, fast and practical than it is in other versions: it instantly deletes entire words with haptic feedback, no Russian roulette.

            That said, I understand that if you're used to the regular Swiftkey, Flow doesn't save you much time... Swype would, but that's another story. ;)

    • Vito Cassisi

      Yeah, swipe back was win. All they have to do is make swipe from the backspace button = delete, and it'll be awesome.

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

        Yeah... kind of, but I still like that I can swipe from anywhere. I think there should be a way to detect a swipe to delete gesture vs typing gestures, but I'll leave it to the pros.

    • Harsha

      You can press and hold the back key, which is as good as the swipe left gesture.

    • Casper

      Just hold the backspace for ½ sec instead? Works fine for me.

      • theching14

        You can also change the hold time needed for a long press by going into Settings > Advanced > Long-press duration. I changed mine to the lowest period (100 ms), and it works very well for me!

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

    Interestingly, the links are up for everyone, not just VIP members. I've updated the post to reflect this because the press release specified otherwise.

    • DeadSOL

      Yeah, that's quite strange! I immediately went for the download! ;)

  • ScottColbert

    Love it so far, but Flow through space needs a lot of work. Even short sentences, SKF either wouldn't make the space or created some bizarre word combo.

    • Mario

      not only that but after 4 or 5 words for me, it just quits and doesn't type anything. Very nice feature though, can't wait until they iron out those bugs

  • Karthik Kumar

    Does the installed Swiftkey 3 need to be removed before installing this beta??

    • ScottColbert

      No it doesn't.

      • Karthik Kumar

        Perfect.. Installing Now

        -
        Sent from Cyanogenmod on Galaxy S

    • JG

      you beat me to it.... Was also wondering how this works with the paid version of SK? Will it install as an ad-on type feature or ? Haven't really used SK much so not sure how it operates in this regard....

      • defred34

        It is a completely new app. Your current ones stays as it is. But I figure out Flow has to relearn everything for the Beta at least.

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

        It installs as a separate beta app while in beta period. Once the final version is approved, it'll roll out as an update to existing apps.

        • JG

          Cheers, thanks :)

  • defred34

    Guys, I have a problem. On my A510, I install it everything. It is my default now. But the Flow isn't working? Must I activate it? How so? Anyone have issues activating it?

    • cfenton

      try going into settings and making sure the flow is checked, if it is try opening a sms and try it.

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

      I thought it wasn't working until I realized it only works in fields that have corrections enabled. I.e., it doesn't work in Gmail's To: field, for example.

      • defred34

        Doesn't work for me anywhere. I tried Catch, OfficeSuite, Gmail and browser...negative. Did you alter anything in settings? Is surely a bug for me.

  • Alf_Malph

    With Swiftkey Flow i can't delete a word just swiping from right to left... abviously. Damn't :D
    Is there a new fast-delete combo?

    • NathanDrago

      Yes, it is the classic delete button, which they have revisited and made faster in deleting words ;-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/rob.stefanini Roberto Stefanini

    flow through space is a bit useless at the moment. and I can't tell swiftkey, because the won't let me log into their site

  • http://www.facebook.com/abhikurve Abhi Kurve

    I'm not able to type full sentences at a stretch..they become only single word.. any idea?

    • magicdow

      you need to swipe to the space bar and continue with the next word

  • Sven Andresen

    I love SK flow on my SGS III...

  • http://twitter.com/GGmanye Gary

    It's nice but still need to get used to it since I'm a long time swype user.

  • DeadSOL

    I'm a Swype user and this is absolutely fantastic! One feature that it's badly missing is the "word selection" feature that Swype has! I hate holding backspace for long periods of time. On Swype, you just press the Swype button and it highlights the last word. It's quite easy to replace typos!

    • PhilNelwyn

      Yeah, and on Swype you just have to tap on any word to have a swipe-able line of suggestions.
      And it handles compound words.
      And you can select all/copy/cut/paste with just a little swipe.
      And it's as easy to change the case of a word.

      My only problem with Swype is that it's been very slow at switching languages lately.

      • Greyhame

        All of these features are sorely missed. If Swype was in the Play Store, it would be my defacto keyboard without a doubt. As it is now, I live with stock gesture typing and it's not bad.

        This effort by SK, while good, is not enough to pull me in. The lack of word alternatives is the killer. You have to get the cursor at the very end of the word for it to properly suggest alternatives. If you place the cursor in the middle of the word, it will suggest alternatives for the letters leading up to the cursor and neglect those letters after the cursor. Very annoying. And having to press the backspace key every time it chooses the incorrect word, as opposed to alternatives just showing up, is inefficient and not up to par.

        Wish Swype would make its way to the Play Store!!

        • s427

          You know you can register on the Swype website to get the keyboard, right?

          http://beta.swype.com/

          I know it's a bit cumbersome, but you only have to do it once.

          • Greyhame

            Yes.

      • http://www.facebook.com/tyfodk Claus Madsen

        I have Danish, Spanish and English installed, and I have never found it to be a mess. With time, Swiftkey knows when I'm using an English word in my Danish or viceversa, and doesn't go into "different language mode". It's quite nifty, actually!

        • PhilNelwyn

          Either you've never found it to be a mess, or it got better with time, not both... ;)
          An update fixed Swype's delay when switching languages, so now it's perfect to me, and if SwiftKey confuses me when I try it, I won't keep on using it (especially if on top of that it doesn't handle compound words and it's so long to replace a word).
          Besides, Flow's auto-correction is not as good as Swype's.
          I'll try it again later, after some updates.

    • s427

      Actually you just have to tap on any word previously entered and Swype will remember the trace you used for that word and show you suggestions to automatically change the word based on other possible meanings of that specific trace. It's quite powerful. (I think it remembers the last 100 words or something like that.)

      Other Swype features that hold me back from switching to Swiftkey Flow :

      - shortcuts keys starting from the Swype key (e.g. Swype->A = select all; or Swype->Shift = change capitalization of current word (very clever); etc)
      - layout of the numeric pad (I don't really like the Swiftkey numeric pad because the keys are quite small; Swype is much more comfortable.)
      - more special characters available in Swype.

      I must say however that I'm quite impressed with Swiftkey Flow as it works very well and is very responsive. But there's one big problem IMO: no suggestions of other words for the trace (as far as I know anyway). Your trace will result in only one output, with no choice of alternative results. (Or maybe I'm missing something?)

      (And generally speaking, having only three suggestions on Swiftkey (actually, only two suggestions as the third one is just your input) always feels quite limited compared to the scrolling suggestions list on Swype.)

      Swype has its drawbacks too, of course, so I'll definitely be testing Swiftkey Flow for a while and check how it evolves.

      • Mario

        Agree. Shortcuts are a must on gesture keyboards; they save so much time. Swype should be worried though. This is a nice keyboard with very nice prediction. The more you use it, the less you have to actually type/swipe, and just tap the suggested words.

        • s427

          Yes, classic Swiftkey awesomeness. :-)

          But the latest versions of Swype (beta) also try to suggest the next word --although it's not nearly as impressive as Swiftkey. It's funny to see those two keyboards (arguably the two most popular and powerful alternative keyboards on Android) imitating each other. We'll see which one ends up with the most convincing solution, but in the meantime, yay for competition! (No patent wars here, thank you very much.)

  • defred34

    Hey so am I the only one who can't get it to work? I am using the tablet version.

    PS: Something has to be wrong as the default layout when I enter a form is the keys abridged/split through the middle, not as a complete keyboard.

    • CA719

      it only works in portrait mode in the tablet version

      • defred34

        Oh gosh, thanks!

        Anyway, been playing with it for a while and am unimpressed. I thought you could go on swiping 3/4 words continuously....doing it word by word, then pausing a while is just too slow. I rather use the regular SK and type 5 words continuously then hit the spacebar.

        • CA719

          You can do it that way, you just have to swipe down to the space bar between words. That way you can type full sentences without lifting your finger.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1653571802 Debadatta Bose

    The battery goes down almost exponentially with this installed. Sad. As I like this far better than Swype!

  • ZakariyaP

    Very impressive so far. Been using the default android 4.2.1 keyboard with its swipe functionality and this just feels like a natural improvement to that

    Only issue so far is that if it doesn't recognise one word further down the sentence (eg the 4th or 5th word) the whole sentence becomes void, but perhaps that's just a lack of my typing skill

  • Boluskaart

    How does the "flow through space" feature work? It doesn't seem to function now. Where can I activate it? Or does it only work in English (I'm Dutch).

    • John

      Odd, mine just stopped doing that all the sudden. It worked once but now it doesn't space in between words. Hrmm

  • Boluskaart

    At first I thought it didn't work, but now it turns out the "flow through space" feature just works terribly. It often gives me the right word suggestion when I'm at the end of the word, then when I swipe down to the space bar it suddenly changes it into something similar, and then after 3 words it decides to change the whole sentence, often from Dutch into English. Moreover both languages are activated at the same time, instead of making it possible to choose between them.

    I know it's a beta, so I hope they can fix it, but it seems like they have to start over on this feature.

    • Mario

      You can just choose one; disable the one you don't want in the options. Having both active at the same time is a feature. It allows it to recognize both languages when you flow through the keys. Worked fine for me with English and Spanish.

  • Leonard Krum

    Asus Padfone: Tablet Beta. Flow Working on Phone, but not working on tablet mode :(

    • defred34

      use the tablet is portrait mode.

  • http://profiles.google.com/robert.macri Robert Macri

    I'm loving this so far.

    • http://profiles.google.com/robert.macri Robert Macri

      Okay, where do I send my money?

  • http://www.facebook.com/abhikurve Abhi Kurve

    Working great bit experiencing heavy batery usage!
    CM10 Galaxy S3

  • John

    Jeez...seems to be using twice the amount of memory too. Regular SK is around ~30MB, mines jumping around 58-60. Anyone else see that?

    (yes i know this is beta & in testing stages...just curious)

  • bse88

    However how much I like innoviation, I would prefer they focus more on listening what the user say in their request forums.

  • Wijnkuip

    SK flow installed just fine... but as earlier stated by others: the new flow function doesn't work. Not in Gmail, SMS or other apps. The flow works, but not for full sentences. Too bad
    Maybe it's because I'm running CM10 on my SGS3.

    Back to Swipe beta for now...

  • dobbsy

    Only trying this because Swype still hasn't fixed the install issue for Nexus 4. It's pretty excellent though for now I prefer Swype. However, if they don't fix that bug within a week I'll be used to this and won't switch back again. Get on it, Swype!

  • Josh Flowers

    i'm just sad the music doesn't start playing when i begin swiping.

  • qak

    I'm not a fan so far.. Regular swiftkey is much quicker for me. I'm not sure if it's because I'm just horrible. But when I flow with the space button my next word usually gets messed up

    • deltatux

      Flow Through Space is rather broken. Until they fix that, I'm just using SwiftKey Flow like I would with Swype, just swipe each word one by one. Less intuitive but it works better than Flow Through Space.

      • http://twitter.com/Vizualize a.d.AM

        Ditto. Always messing up words after the first one. Its faster to double peck.

  • Othman M

    Great app

  • dobbsy

    I like it fine but the flow part doesn't work for me in all fields. For instance in search field or when entering the recipient on a text message. It only seems to work in fields like this one.

  • Mark Stratemeier

    Anyone having a problem loading the language pack? It says it having problems downloading the English (US) language pack.

    • Kyle Black

      Me too! I been trying to download a pack all morning. I have tried other languages other than English US and have re-installed the app

  • Biyobe

    All I'm seeing is a zip file and no APK??

    • http://twitter.com/AHHSom Im Real

      did you download it via chrome

  • John Howard

    The flow doesn't work in the browser bar, which might not be so annoying if I only used that to type addresses, but that's where I search from.

    • Luis Augusto Fretes Cuevas

      Indeed. That's annoying.

      Also, Samsung's keyboard swipe works to write addresses too, it memorizes them and it works very well.

      • s427

        or emails.

  • Mike Larrabee

    What voice typing does SK use? I left Swype because I didn't like Dragon Dictate as much as the new offline stock voice dictation.

  • Calvin

    Does anyone know if this will be a stand-alone app or will the finished product be an update to SK3? Using an iPhone right now and (supposed to be) getting my N4 today so just wondering if I should get SK or wait :)

    • Teddy Reardon

      I would wait and see what happens, if it's a stand alone app, they might put all the keyboards on sale, if not, what is there to loose, right now, flow is free.

  • Hadi

    So far, it seems Flow, while very awesome, is very limited in where it can be used. It's only worked in the Messaging app and Drive for now, nowhere else. Of course, given it's a beta, I suppose I can't say I should expect anything more.

  • thomas

    I like it so far for both my phone and tablet, but I'll need landscape mode on my tablet to be in love.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dontsh00tmesanta Daniel Quintero

    its ok it misses its and most of my sentences

  • http://twitter.com/AHHSom Im Real

    force closes on me everytime, does not work well with 4.0 software

  • kgb kgbb

    Is there a way to get Flow without being rooted and having to install an .apk?

  • Jacob Sennyey

    I'm having a big problem with CPU usage when having this beta running on my s2/Cm10/paranoid android. Even when not in use my phone would use sometimes both cores to the max. I couldn't pinpoint it for a while until I run a process monitor in the background. Disabling the keyboard fixed the issue right away. Unlucky as I think it's a great app