unnamed (5)

Time for a little history lesson. Way back in the summer of 2010, when smartphone screen sizes were still reasonable and people were still complaining about how hard it was to type on them, a little company called Swype Inc. thought it had the problem of touchscreen input licked. Android users went crazy trying to get into the beta for their gesture-based software keyboard, and tech blogs threw around words like "innovation" and "miracle" like rice at a wedding. Then the other shoe dropped: Swype was only interested in selling its slidey wares to hardware manufactures, as a tie-in for brand new phones - they had no intention of selling their nifty keyboard directly to end users.

unnamed (1) unnamed (2) unnamed (3)

Fast forward three years. Swype has been acquired by the dictation specialists at Nuance, makers of the Dragon Naturally Speaking software. Since their new owners are interested in the novel concept of making money, they've finally decided to unbind the Swype keyboard from hardware partners and sell it directly to consumers on the Play Store. It's right there if you don't believe us - you can buy it right now, for just a dollar.

Of course, three years might as well be twenty when it comes to the mobile market, and in that time plenty of competitors have risen to meet and in many cases beat Swype at its own game. Keyboards like SlideIt and SwiftKey were more than happy to serve the users that Swype wouldn't, to say nothing of the built-in gesture typing in Android Jelly Bean 4.2. All that said, it's not as if the Swype team have been sitting on their hands. They've added two-handed swipe typing, some impressive word prediction, and integrated the Dragon Dictation speech-to-text engine.

Update: At the time of writing, the keyboard is only available for smartphones. The app description specifically mentions robust tablet support, so there's probably some compatibility wires crossed somewhere.

There's also a free trial version for anyone who wants to give the keyboard a spin, though it's also limited to phones for some reason. The trial app is the second Play Store widget below.

Update The Second: It looks like they've sorted out tablet compatibility.

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • http://twitter.com/BayAreaTechPros Bay Area Tech Pros

    Even if this was free I would prefer TouchPal, nothing beats it.

    • I am so attractive!

      TouchPal sux, sorry.

      Swype is very accurate.
      SwiftKey is still rather inaccurate, but no so bad.
      TouchPal sucks heavily. Especially in non-English languages. And what's important the developer does not answer questions.

    • Thatguyfromvienna

      Touchpal almost made me want to throw my phone against something solid.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lee.goldschmidt Lee Goldschmidt

    It's easy to see why: with Swiftkey and OEM's own tracing keyboards trouncing Swype on preinstalled phones, Swype has no choice but to release to the Play Store to turn a profit.

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

    Not available for any tablets right now but it's probably an error on Swype's part

    From the description: "• Unique Tablet Keyboards: No need to download a separate application for your tablet. Swype includes three tablet modes to choose from, including: the original Swype keyboard, a small and moveable keyboard, and a split keyboard for easy tablet input."

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

    I've tried other trace based keyboards like the latest stock keyboard and swiftkey flow and ended up back with swype. They do it best in my experience.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joseph.millhouse.3 Joseph Millhouse

    Um the description in the play store says for tablets. Do a little homework next time

    • koory

      I could install it on my Galaxy Nexus, but it seems to be unavailable for the Nexus 7 and Motorola Xoom. So I guess only available on smartphones per the post.

    • S Blade

      well only reason i asked cause I did not see it for my nexus 10, but on my nexus 4 phone it works. Anyway i bought the app and like it

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000003999549 Mike Harris

      "At the time of writing, the keyboard is only available for smartphones. The app description specifically mentions robust tablet support, so there's probably some compatibility wires crossed somewhere."

      Oops, you just failed the internet.

  • DennisHeffernan

    I like Swype as a keyboard but I also like using the S Pen for handwritten entry on my Note and the Swype Beta had horrible handwriting recognition. And my other device is a tablet. :-/

  • http://www.facebook.com/leonardob0880 Leonardo Baez

    am I the only one who hate swype?

    • Thatguyfromvienna

      If you feel hate towards a simple app, you should consider getting some treatment...

    • zzz

      and yes, yes you are.

      • andy_o

        He's like those guys who hate facebook on every goddamn facebook thread.

    • NexusKoolaid

      I've used swype in the past and liked it. But their early distribution model was a complete fuster cluck in terms of user experience. It eventually improved somewhat but was still bad enough that I dropped it like a rock when SK Flow became available.

  • DeadSOL

    So, is there any difference between the Swype beta version I'm currently using and the paid version?

    • Aaron Kellar

      first thing I wanted to know as well.

    • xnifex

      the beta version will expire in September

    • DeadSOL

      This is what Engadget has to say about it: "The 1.5 update adds a quick shortcut to Dragon Mobile Assistant for those who have it installed, expands Living Language to 20 dialects, adds two new themes and refines both Smart Touch and Smart Reselect"

  • WhyWai

    isn't it too late. now both stock and swiftkey support swipe typing. i see no reason getting another keyboard...

    • Thatguyfromvienna

      SK sucks donkey balls when you're multilingual.
      When I use it in German, it will give me suggestions in French - which is completely ridiculous.

      • primalxconvoy

        I think swipe did that when I was using English.

        • Thatguyfromvienna

          Not possible.
          To my knowledge, Swype strictly discriminates between languages and doesn't mix them at all.

          • primalxconvoy

            I swear that swype accessed data from various sources and guessed which words, , including german words.

          • ElfirBFG

            I've never had it include non-English words while typing an English message, although I've have Swype switch to Spanish 'on its own' before. I'm pretty sure that was the Beta though, and the Beta hated my Atrix(I lost pre-installed Swype after flashing CM).

          • primalxconvoy

            I'm talking about the beta, too. Regardless, the swipe keyboard ship has set sail without skype for me.

  • Kernschatten

    Interesting license for this.
    A license is granted to install to a "Single Device".

    • rider

      I guess this will not prevent you from installing it from the play store on different devices using one account

      • Kernschatten

        Actually, I hit the refund button. I found the license agreement to be petty and rather contrary to how the Play Store usually works.

        • xnifex

          what about it was off-putting for you?

          • Kernschatten

            It was just one of those WTF? moments. The agreement then goes on to specifically define a device as an "Android Smartphone". And again I went: WTF?

        • http://benignthoughts.com/ Louis C.

          I guarantee you that the license agreement is left over from the beta where you had to agree to it on each device.

          • Kernschatten

            Probably. The trial version has the exact same language.

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

      I think they forgot to update it from their per-device beta agreement.

      • PhilNelwyn

        Given how they tout phones and tablets support in one app, and the syncing feature, that makes sense.

  • zhunpi

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    In the case included the typical, mobile, charger and headphones, all very well packed and in perfect condition. the battery was tinkering for one hour. after testing an hour, I can say that the phone's fluidity is very good, had previously passed through my hands another terminal single core Chinese with a processor, and this with the mtk 6577 to 1.2 GHrz is an 8MP camera. a large screen high definition. very fast, in perfect condition, better than I expected. Now, check the durability, which scares me, but looks great. Jelly Bean Android 4.1.1. You can set in Spanish and can disable all. Wonderful, through my own experience. very popular. the cheapest in Spain. highest discount now, I decide to buy another phone, as a birthday gift to my brother. € 99.99. a funny thing: one of my friends bought eight phones. he will send these phones to his family. filial piety. I really highly recommend it to everyone. very credible. very worth

  • Thatguyfromvienna

    Which is a shame, since Swype is a lot better.

    • PhilNelwyn

      I wouldn't say a lot better anymore.
      I still prefer it, but other options have improved, and it's now more a matter of taste.
      There are details in Swype that make it the best for me, but it's not crushing its competitors like it used to.

      • Thatguyfromvienna

        When you're multilingual, it absolutely kills Swiftkey.

        • PhilNelwyn

          Yeah, that's one of the details I was talking about, but some people prefer the way SwiftKey handles languages.

          • Thatguyfromvienna

            That's a lot more to me than a detail and totally disqualifies SK for my daily use. Too bad I purchased SK - but of course, I dished out the money for Swype a minute after I read about it here. :)

          • simonsorcier

            I guess it depends on personnal preferences. I write frequently in 3 languages (french, english and spanish) and for me the way SK handles language switching is just awesome, much smarter than what swype and other keyboards are doing.
            I usually keep two languages activated at the same time and swiftkey guesses automatically which one I'm typing in and adapts predictions accordingly. Past the one or two initial words, never once has it suggested english words when I'm obviously want a french word. On the other hand, if I want to insert english words in a french sentence, I have the full UK dictionnary available and don't need to switch languages.

            I also like how swiftkey handles additions to the dictionnary. If you type a new unknown word, bam it's added to future predictions. The stock android keyboard is infuriating for this process, necessitating at least 4 clicks for each new words !

          • Thatguyfromvienna

            Never worked properly for me.
            Probably my text messages aren't similar enough but SK never managed to guess the language correctly.

            Adding words that way works in Swype too - you only have to activate this feature.

            Plus Swype has awesome shortcuts and options for correcting are better IMO.

          • don

            actually the way SK claims to do it is also the way i would prefer it. but in my experience SK fails badly here.

            too often i swipe on SK and it suddently uses a word of another language than the rest of the text is. i even have the feeling that this language behaviour got worse during past updates.

          • Will Dutton

            i'm actually one of those who prefer the way that swiftkey handles languages as you say. i loove love love the fact that i dont have to switch between languages when typing, i type in spanish and english all day long sometimes both in the same sentence and it would be a nightmare having to toggle the language everytime, afaik swiftkey is the only one that does that

          • PhilNelwyn

            It's not a nightmare when it takes only one little swipe.

          • Thatguyfromvienna

            So probably Spanish and English words aren't similar enough.
            Try German and English.
            Or German and Dutch.

          • porter86

            I use German and English and it's amazing. I'll never switch from SwiftKey it's perfect.

          • porter86

            Yep. It's amazing!

        • anzensepp1987

          Absolutely. SwiftKey is for me almost unusable with three languages enabled (German, US-English, Spanish (Latin America)).

        • porter86

          How so? I use both English and German keyboards on SwiftKey and it's amazing.

      • lambda

        only swype that can be used to text while walking.
        tried swiftkey flow but it's unusable without constantly look at screen.

        try it yourself..

        • PhilNelwyn

          You're preaching to the converted. ;-)

    • http://GPlus.to/Abhisshack Abhisshack D


  • PhilNelwyn

    Sales maybe, user base I don't know...
    Do you have some numbers?

  • Thatguyfromvienna
    • andy_o

      Man I was all excited about it, but Swype hasn't added this at all, not even with split Tablet interface. I don't know what Jeremiah meant with that.

  • rider

    Couldn't see it when searching the Play store (SGN8000). Logged into my account using the browser and had no problem buying it.

    I don't care for Swype which Samsung already provides but speech recognition, yeah

    • primalxconvoy

      Why is it that the browser store has a bigger selection than the app? I might as well just uninstall the app and use the site. I wish Google would make a mobile friendly web store site.

  • S Blade

    Will this support tablets in the future. The app looks good hope for tablet support in the future.

  • http://twitter.com/zackeryfretty Zackery Fretty

    Very too late considering that the native 4.2 keyboard works almost just as well at the "Swype" function.

  • Andrew

    They've left it far too late. Very few people who haven't already tried it are going to pick it over Swiftkey, which is very visible in the Top Paid section. Swype made an incredibly stupid business decision, combined with taking FAR too long in its beta phase, and combined they've more or less sunk any real chances they have of success comparable with SK.

    • http://pandu.poluan.info pepoluan

      I was an early purchaser of SwiftKey. And I've *stopped* using SK when Swype hits Beta 4. Now that Swype is purchasable from the Play Store, I *will* purchase it.

  • http://www.frogsparks.com/ Pierre-Luc Paour

    This version works fine on a tablet, Nuance just messed up the Play Store configuration (they're new to it ;-).

    Using Titanium Backup to transfer the APK over from my phone to my tablet worked without a hitch.

    And they finally listened to beta testers and allowed us to turn Dragon dictation off (and reclaim the associated key).

  • Hop

    Can you multiswipe ? Start with one swipe and finish with another without lifting the first ( two-fingers). Google had it sorta implemented.

    • andy_o

      No, Keymonk did it first and still does best, but it lacks other features, like deleting words from its own very shoddy dictionary (lots of misspellings cause I think it's crowdsourced) and learning usage.

  • A Google User

    Dear Swipe,
    A Google User.

    • Thatguyfromvienna

      Puberty is rough, hu?

  • primalxconvoy

    Meh. My Samsung came with a derivative of (swiftey?) Which meets my needs. I was into swype but it never allowed manual adding or deleting of words and the installation/re installation process was a pain.

    Saiyonara, swype.

    • Thatguyfromvienna

      "never allowed manual adding or deleting of words and the installation/re installation process was a pain"

      Easy as pie.
      If that was too hard for you, you better get a 6150.

  • http://jesuiscontentducontent.tumblr.com/ Yod-b

    The only thing I miss from SwiftKey is sync between devices. On that domain, Swype is definnitely better. Other than that? Don't think so.

    • http://twitter.com/Kanpai888 Gen-Nam

      It seems that the Play store version has sync between devices. Only just installed the keyboard so I haven't had a chance to play with it yet, but its one of the options when you set up initially.

      • http://jesuiscontentducontent.tumblr.com/ Yod-b

        yeah, that's what i said: swype beats swiftkey - my choice of keyboard - in that :)

  • littlevince

    Am I the only one who uses Swype because of its copy, paste, cut, change case and select all shortcuts?

    • Thatguyfromvienna

      Don't worry, you're not.

      • presto

        same here, swype still my primary input method since 2011.
        tried other keyboards too but always going back to swype.

    • Robert

      I thought I was. Lol. This has been the deal breaker with every other keyboard for me.

    • dobbsy

      And the shortcut to bring up the number pad is also awesome.

  • Frank Fiorta

    Funny how people say "It'll never catch SwiftKey because it is in a high position on the top paid apps list"... Swype would be there too, if we would have been paying for it for the past 3 years. And the huge amount of users who do use Swype will pay the $1 and you'll easily see it rise.

    Also, Swiftkey is garbage. As a touch input keyboard it is fantastic, but SwiftKey Flow is utter trash. I have both keyboards and I always go back to SK Flow to give it another shot, but I find myself constantly deleting words and starting over. I prefer gesture typing and Swype has them all beat.

    • Sqube

      I had the exact opposite experience, but I think that's mostly because I'm terrible at gesture-based typing. I can poke at the screen really quickly, but I need a keyboard that makes sense of the gibberish I'm putting out there.

      I briefly tried SK Flow, and understood that they were trying to take marketshare from Swype, not get people like me to start using gesture-based typing. Combine the word usage and the effortless language switching... I don't see what another keyboard could offer that would make me want to leave SwiftKey.

      Nice to see Swype finally join the party, though. Back in my Swyping days, it was hard to recommend a keyboard to novice smartphone users when you had to go through a little song and dance to get it installed. They often didn't want to bother.

  • Walter Andrade

    For me, the problem with Swype is Dragon. Since they were acquired, and started forcing users to use Dragon instead of the much better solution that Google itself provides, I don´t want to use it anymore.

    • http://benignthoughts.com/ Louis C.

      I don't use voice, so I just have that disabled. Also fixed my problem of hitting the voice key when I was trying to hit space. I think it's a new option in 1.5, unless I missed it earlier.

  • http://www.facebook.com/d4ead Scott Etherington

    why anyone has been able to use the swype beta dowloaded from the internet for several years. Its free, and works indefinitely and is better then any pay for keyboard on the market.
    Does this news mean there free beta (that i have used on every phone ive owned over the last 4 years) is going to now disapear??

    • xnifex

      The current versions will expire in September. They're still keeping the beta alive, but will have the versions expire as they go along. You need to set it up on their site to be in the new beta.

  • FJ

    I'm happy like a little girl. Haters gonna hate and speculate! You go Swype! If you don't like it, don't buy and/or use it. That simple. I'm guessing most here, even the ones pissing and moaning probably still threw out their $0.99.
    Watch the downloads count on the Play Store in the next few weeks then revisit the comments about how they will never catch up. You may be surprised.

  • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

    you know...I didn't realize this wasn't in the play store.

  • Cherokee4Life

    haha, its funny because I remember when I first say SwiftKey in the play store I thought that it was the inventor or Swipe. Took me a long time to realize it was 2 different things.

  • http://GPlus.to/Abhisshack Abhisshack D

    lol who cares SwiftKey Rock-n-Rules ;-) :P

  • Egnimatic_Foolishness

    I love the prediction of SwiftKey but swyping beats SwiftKey Flow all day, every day. I'm not even sure if I will go back to swype, but spending. .99 cents to support /show appreciation for what Swype has done over the years is a no brainer to me

  • zzz

    I would have gladly paid $100!

  • troph

    Can anyone give me a full review/comparison of Swype vs Swiftkey?
    I've found little fault with Swiftkey but was wondering about Swype too. Anything that sticks out?

  • Sandy McArthur

    if only it let you select the Google Voice recognizer instead of Dragon's.

    • xnifex

      a comment below states that there's now an option to turn that off

  • http://www.twitter.com/Genjinaro Genjinaro

    I agree about the sales part but user base, I'm sure Swype trumps them easily, its pre-installed on a LOT of phones & it was a free-beta for the longest.

  • jonathan3579

    $1 for a trial of a keyboard? LMAO. No, not gonna happen. I am curious what happens to us beta users though.

    • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

      well those who aren't cheap asses will buy it to support the company that makes it.

      • jonathan3579

        Are you calling me a cheap ass? Because if so - Lol. I have spent hundreds of dollars on apps but Swype will never be one of them. I did, however, pay for Swiftkey.

        • andy_o

          You should have spent those dollars on reading lessons.

          • jonathan3579

            You should learn some manners, dick.

          • andy_o

            Part of my manners is to make fun of idiots that LTAO about a non existent issue that is perfectly explained in the post they're replying to, and then proceed tell us all about how many hundreds of dollars they've spent when called out.

          • jonathan3579

            So what you're essentially saying is that you're a troll. Got it. Your existence beyond this point to me is null.

          • andy_o

            I'm dying to know how important it was to you before this point.

    • PhilNelwyn

      $1 for a trial?
      What are you talking about?
      Sounds like you didn't read the article...

  • Swoosh

    Is there a difference between this version and the beta?

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    Looks like utter shit on my Nexus 7 compared to Swype beta

    Swype from Google Play - http://i.imgur.com/pYDpyZY.png
    Swype Beta - http://i.imgur.com/zDKpBej.png

    seriously wtf? it' unusable

    • Amer Khaznadar

      Different color scheme makes it unusable, seriously!? At any rate, check the settings, you can change the theme and the default one that you like is there.

      • xnifex

        it's not the theme, it's the fact that the tablet version in 1.5 adds a bunch of fluff & the keyboard height is even higher now.

    • xnifex

      I agree with you, i hate the tablet version on 1.5, sticking with 1.4 beta for the time being on he Nexus 7.

  • Venkatesh Giri

    I have been using BETA from a long time. I bought this in a heartbeat .. I got this installed on Nexus 4 and my Nexus 7 Tablet .. I don't why people are having trouble getting installed on a tablet ....

    It is definitely different from BETA. I can see prediction improvements. Themable keyboards(not saying itz a big feature), Better SETTINGS menu, Better Sync ...

    On Tablet i can have multiple keyboard views... Loving this .. One of the very few apps I have purchased !

  • xnifex

    It seems they fixed the issue with not able to install on tablets. Nexus 7 now shows as compatible.

  • John Petersen

    No way does Swiftkey fill the gap. For all the talk of really good word prediction, Switfkey Flow sucks at it. It picks the wrong word at least 25% of the time for me. Sometimes, I will manually pick the correct word from the choices at the top, and it overrules me to insert a different word anyway. The prioritization of vocabulary is often baffling, and there are only three choices given, where Swype gives a lot more. In addition, Swype includes common proper names and brands in their dictionary, while Swiftkey Flow always seems lacking in that department. I really wanted to like Flow. I used it for over 3 months, and when I switched back to Swype, it was a relief and a breath of fresh air. If you prefer swipe-typing, the original is still the best, imo. Now, I have been staying up to date with the latest Swype beta, and many of the key improvements have been in the last year or so. I'm happy to hand over a dollar for something that has worked well for me for years.

  • CoolCustomer

    I stopped using the beta as my primary keyboard the moment I got a Nexus 4 because it just kept getting worse with every update. Downloaded this and immediately remembered why I loved this keyboard so much. You can swipe to add catastrophic and capitalize letters which allows for one-handed, blind swiping without sacrificing your writing style.

    • http://pandu.poluan.info pepoluan

      It did go into a downward spiral during Beta.. but I can attest that Beta 4 version was very good. If the final version is better, then it's heaven :-)

  • Filipe Fusco

    had used Swype a long time ago, but in early times was using only swiftkey... I've decided to give Swype a try because of a few glitches in swiftkey, think that is because it's not Portuguese optimized...
    the fact is that I really enjoyed the new experience with Swype, a lot more functional with Portuguese and a lot better dictionary... it's my new default keyboard, no doubt...

  • Richie

    SK seems to be somewhat sluggish lately,I own an GS2 running 4.1.2. I am trying out the new downloadable Swype,since it appears to be a different version from what was already loaded onto my phone.

  • tbonefsg

    Thanks for posting this, I've been waiting to get Swype for my gnex for a while now. Purchased!

  • JG

    Will the Play Store version install as a separate keyboard app from the pre-installed version that came with my phone (like the Beta version)? Wouldn't mind trying the update, but would like to be able to return to stock just in case (I've heard enough negative comments about various aspects of the beta version not working as well as the stock version)...

  • Amer Khaznadar

    I had originally switched from Swype to Swiftkey but I couldn't remember why. And after trying the Swype trial for a day, I still can't remember and I'm probably gonna switch back.
    Yes it doesn't have the smart prediction that Swiftkey has, but I rarely use that anyway. and furthermore Swype handles multiple languages a lot more cleanly than Swiftkey. I use three languages and I hated having words from one language pop-up when using a different one.

  • jj14x

    I've used swype beta for a long time, and never noticed this - swype actually asks for "PRECISE LOCATION (GPS AND NETWORK-BASED)" permission, in addition to "APPROXIMATE LOCATION (NETWORK-BASED)"

    I guess I can understand why they may need approximate location (living language feature) - but why do they need Precise location? Any thoughts?

    • jj14x

      I contacted them using their "EMail developer" link at the play store - and I got a response back from them:

      "Thank you for contacting Nuance Mobility Support. Please note that this email address is not monitored. If you wish to obtain support for a Nuance Mobility product, please go to http://technicalsupport.nuance.com.


      LOL! Why provide that Email link in the first place then? Hopefully, they will update with an actual Email address for contacting them soon :)

  • Don

    Be aware that a bug in JellyBean 4.1.1. and possibly 4.1.2. will cause your keyboard to default back to built in keyboard. This is true for my GS3 on T-Mobile. It's still my favorite keyboard and I hope Google fixes this soon.

    • Don

      I should have mentioned that this happens after phone reboots.

  • carol

    Should I b worried about the warning that personal data such as credit card numbers can b accessed if swype is used.

    • 1776usa2016

      Why is this warning coming up just for Swype?


    • http://pandu.poluan.info pepoluan

      That's a standard warning given by Android for *any* installable keyboard. To the extent that you can trust Swype's makers, you can just disregard that warning.