It's often the case that one piece of software will introduce a groundbreaking feature, but others will expand on it, eventually replacing the original. When it comes to Android, Swype and SwiftKey come to mind. But the latter has yet to vanquish the former, nor has the addition of gesture-based typing to the stock keyboard, and Swype has now been updated with a host of new features that show just how much of a heavyweight this contender remains.
It's pretty easy to understand why typing isn't exactly an optimal experience on a smartphone. They are designed to fit in palms and come with virtual keys smaller than the fingertips used to press them. Tablets don't suffer from this problem, but they come with one of their own - a user can type speedily using the significantly larger keys, but resting their fingers on the screen for a mere second is all it takes to turn "superpower" to "sauerkraut," and suddenly that status update about whether America should get involved in Syria accumulates a different flood of Facebook comments than was expected.
Swype is far from an unfamiliar face in the mobile world. It has served some of the finest Android phones as an included keyboard, permitting one-handed writers to swipe out words rather than peck away with their thumbs. During this time, it was unavailable as a separate download, and using it was somewhat of an exclusive experience. It has since entered the Play Store, and it's now making the jump up to version 1.5.6 less than a month later.
Over the past few weeks we've highlighted several Play Store sales that hit at the end of each week. Today, however, looks like a few devs decided to try middle-of-the-week sales, and we figured some of those may not make it to the week's end. So here it is – a short list of sales that are happening right now.
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.
Another day, another beta update from Swype. Today, the company announced a new version that brings a enhances a few features including adding Advanced Language Models for Hindi and Belgian Dutch. The overall tap responsiveness has been improved. The Smart Editor and Word Choice List (in Polaris Office) behaviors have also been refined.
Here's the full change log:
Swype Beta v184.108.40.20605
- Advanced Language Models added for Hindi and Belgian Dutch
- Responsiveness for tap input improved for all languages
- Improved overall Smart Editor behavior and implemented some bug fixes
- Fixed a Gingerbread crash that occurred when rotating device into landscape mode
- Fixed miscellaneous crashes reported by the Beta community
- Fixed an issue where default Android voice input ('mic'/'microphone') icon displayed instead of Dragon logo
- Changed subtype text in notification drawer to be more accurate
- Word Choice List behavior improved in Polaris Office
- And many more bug fixes and improvements!
If you're a Swype Beta user, the popular finger-dragging keyboard has received a significant update, to version 1.4.5 today. This new release basically just makes things better: smart editor has been improved, the keyboard launches more quickly in web browsers, advanced language models have been been enhanced, and a handful of smaller fixes and tweaks are in tow.
Swype Beta v220.127.116.1137
- Implemented a number of Smart Editor improvements and resolved some compatibility issues
- Improved keyboard launch responsiveness in web browsers
- Advanced Language Models improved for English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Korean
- Improved logic surrounding Language Downloads
- S-Note: Resolved some instances where text would be duplicated
- Plus many more bug fixes and overall enhancements!
Who knew that keyboards could be so competitive? After SwiftKey released its new Flow feature, and even included the ability to fly through space, Swype had a pressing need to escalate. Well, how's this for handy: now you no longer need to register in order to download the new Swype beta! In times past, Swype's distribution model has been a little cumbersome. Of course, this will only help people who want in on the beta, but it's still a great thing.
Google has really gotten the stock Android keyboard spruced up in recent versions of the OS. Of course, it's still a limited experience lacking in the bells and whistles of some third-party solutions. Speaking of bells and whistles, the new Kii Keyboard has more tweaks and settings than you'll believe.
Kii takes some of the most popular features from the established keyboards. It has swipe input like the Swype keyboard, word prediction like SwitfKey, and a split layout for tablets like you get in several other apps.
I'm going to do my best to make it through this article without making a Portal 2 reference, but this new SwiftKey feature is not making it easy on me. After recently announcing Flow, the Swype-like gesture input method, someone inside SwiftKey HQ thought to themselves "Well, you know, this is great and all, but man, what's with all this raising-my-finger nonsense? So inefficient!" So now the company is demoing Flow Through Space.