The minds behind SwiftKey are machines. They're constantly striving to make an already-great keyboard even better, and adding new innovative features. Today, SwiftKey hits version 4.3 in the form of a public beta, and it's a zinger – it's packed full of new, useful stuff.

The most notable difference with this new build is the marriage of the phone and tablet versions of the app. Finally – one apk to rule them all. In SwiftKey's world, anyway. As a result of this marriage, the team has dubbed this build "Layouts for Living" – a name which may not make a lot of sense at first. Allow me to explain.

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Since this basically combines the two former versions of SwiftKey into one, it also brings both sets of layouts to all screen sizes. It now offers quick access to various keyboard sizes, layouts, and locations. With the new "undock" feature, you can drag SwiftKey around the screen wherever you like. It's pretty badass.   

There are also three different keyboard modes, all of which can be accessed in the same quick-setting panel as the sizes and undock button:

  • Compact: On many larger phones it can be difficult to enter text and hold the phone with just one hand. This new feature minimizes the width of the keyboard and allows for easier typing with one-hand or gesture typing using SwiftKey Flow. It also frees up more of the screen estate on tablets.
  • Full: Users with large screens can now opt for a full-width keyboard with left-right cursor control keys and a backspace key above the “Enter” key. By placing the keys closer together, this new layout mimics the experience of two-handed typing on a physical keyboard.
  • Thumb: For people typing on tablets in landscape and with wide phones in portrait the keyboard can be split into two sections, enabling fast, comfortable typing with both thumbs.

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In addition to all this, there are a few other, more subtle, features tucked away in SK's settings – like the option to enable arrow keys (which for some crazy reason is called "PC Layout" on tablets).

As always, you can grab the latest version of the SwiftKey beta here. It's a good one.

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San Francisco, CA, October 17, 2013 — SwiftKey, the leading Android keyboard app, today announced public beta access to its latest version, dubbed ‘Layouts for Living’. The SwiftKey 4.3 update provides users with new keyboard layouts that can be resized and moved anywhere on a device, empowering people to type however they want to, regardless of screen size.

Through extensive user experience (UX) testing and feedback, SwiftKey recognized that an increasing lack of distinction between the phone and tablet form factor means users are demanding more flexibility when they type. For example, commuters in cramped trains may want to type one-handed with their left thumb, while a professional writing a document on a tablet may want to type with both thumbs. SwiftKey’s latest update aims to adapt to everyday situations such as these as well as any number of others – it’s up to each user. With Layouts for Living, SwiftKey liberates users with a huge variety of layouts.

“Allowing people to manipulate the location, size and layout of the keyboard not only makes it easier to type – it gives our users a more personalized way to interact with their technology and each other,” said co-founder and CTO Ben Medlock.

“We are committed to creating world-class user experiences that marry our powerful language technology with interfaces that learn and adapt to each user’s needs.”

In addition to being able to size and place the keyboard anywhere on the device, version 4.3 of SwiftKey also includes three preset keyboard modes:

Compact: On many larger phones it can be difficult to enter text and hold the phone with just one hand. This new feature minimizes the width of the keyboard and allows for easier typing with one hand or gesture typing using SwiftKey Flow. It also frees up more of the screen estate on tablets.

Full: Users with large screens can now opt for a full-width keyboard with left-right cursor control keys and a backspace key above the “Enter” key. By placing the keys closer together, this new layout mimics the experience of two-handed typing on a physical keyboard.

Thumb: For people typing on tablets in landscape and with wide phones in portrait the keyboard can be split into two sections, enabling fast, comfortable typing with both thumbs.

Consistent Experience

As devices of varying sizes continue to enter the market and the line between tablets and phones blur, a consistent SwiftKey experience is an ongoing priority for our fans. Responding to your feedback, SwiftKey has merged the phone and tablet apps to give a seamless experience across all device sizes.

With SwiftKey Layouts for Living, current and future customers can use one unified SwiftKey app across all Android devices. Leveraging SwiftKey Cloud, which was introduced in SwiftKey 4.2, the app also creates a cloud-based hub for each user’s personal language profile to be shared with any phone or device. SwiftKey Layouts for Living offers a beautiful user experience for all users, across all of their devices no matter the screen size.

The SwiftKey Layouts for Living beta is available to the public now and can be downloaded athttp://beta.swiftkey.net.