Microsoft bought popular third-party keyboard Swiftkey four years ago, and the app is still going strong. It refreshed its branding earlier this year, and started work on supporting Android 10's dark theme. Now it looks like the latest beta version supports automatically changing the keyboard style to match the look of the system theme.
Microsoft SwiftKey fans are adamant that their software keyboard is the best, but the Android version has unarguably been missing one pretty snazzy feature that other keyboards like Gboard have: Sliding cursor control. Or, at least, that was true until today, because the latest beta just picked up the feature. And true to form, SwiftKey made its version a little bit better than Google's implementation.
Microsoft acquired SwiftKey about four years ago, and apart from some additions like optional Microsoft accounts, Bing, and the company's translate feature, it didn't change too much about the popular third-party keyboard. Earlier this year, though, Microsoft's name got more prominent in the app's settings, and now, the Redmond giant has decided it's about time to make it even more obvious whose keyboard you're using. Following a beta test run, the latest stable version of SwiftKey is now called "Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard" and comes with a refreshed logo.
SwiftKey has only recently received an update that made many of its fans unhappy with changes to the toolbar. A new release to the beta channel doesn't mitigate these issues, but it packs some much-needed improvements: SwiftKey's settings have been completely redesigned with a more conventional interface that now also supports Android 10's dark mode. The keyboard itself doesn't switch themes automatically yet, though — baby steps.
SwiftKey has been working on a new design in its beta that completely rethinks its toolbar and makes it less customizable, but we have always hoped the developers wouldn't push the update to stable in that form. Unfortunately, the new Play Store release of the keyboard includes the dreaded changes to the toolbar that remove scrolling and thus limit the total amount of custom functions to five while adding a useless permanent support button.
I don't think it's a stretch to say SwiftKey is one of the most important Android apps ever released. It's largely responsible for popularizing swipe-typing, which can now be found on pretty much every other software keyboard. Now the app has passed 500 million installations on the Play Store.
One way or another, people will find new ways to express their thoughts or ideas using all the tools that developers like to cook up. When it comes to the world of animated three-dimensional avatars, for example, we have Apple's Animoji, Samsung's AR Emoji, and a bunch of other OEM-proprietary solutions that look interesting. But what if your phone's manufacturer failed to include this new and important feature, don't worry! Microsoft's cross-platform keyboard app, SwiftKey, has taken up the mantle to create Puppets, now available in beta.
Over the last year, Google has been instituting sweeping changes when it comes to app permissions to help protect user privacy. It imposed new restrictions when it came to SMS and phone permissions, and plenty of app makers found themselves caught in the Google support machine. Now developers found in violation of recent Gmail API changes are left out in the lurch, and the list of affected apps includes SMS Backup+, Nine, and even SwiftKey.
Most Android users I know stick with Gboard nowadays, but there are some of you out there who still use third-party keyboards. The most popular one on the Play Store is SwiftKey, and now, the beta version has been updated to color the navigation bar with your keyboard's primary theme color.