Swype has rightly been on the receiving end of a lot of praise and attention in its time. The gesture-based keyboard replacement app has always provided eye-wateringly fast typing, but now a new version seems to have just floored the competition by adding a couple of killer features…
When Electricpig spoke to the team at Swype recently, Swype’s product manager Brian Yee said of the Android app that it now has “everything integrated in one keyboard.” And he means everything. It doesn’t seem as though any time’s been wasted since Nuance snapped up Swype, with the newest update having already incorporated two of the former’s top technologies.
“We were able to bring together our Swype technology and Nuance’s XT9 predictive tap technology,” said Yee. That means that Swype still offers the top notch gesture-based tomfoolery, only now its alongside a traditional tap QWERTY keyboard that learns as it goes. We love the stock Android 4.0 keyboard to bits, but this is perfect for those moments where you find one hand is busy (Holding a bag, say), and you can just swipe instead of tap instead.
Start using Swype and you’ll notice that it’s clever enough to contextualise your words, so as to choose the right one almost every time. On top of that, when you start adding in words or correcting it, it’ll learn. Swype will save your way of writing and your dictionary to Nuance’s cloud servers.
“Ideally, no matter what you’re using, if you’re the end user you should have your personal language models shared amongst all your devices,” said Yee. “They should all know you and be able to understand you without a problem.” Thanks to the cloud and Nuance’s influence, that’s all coming together.
But there’s another facet to Swype now, too: dictation. Nuance has Dragon’s natural voice technology in its portfolio and, hey, if you’re trying to make the most versatile mobile keyboard going, why not bang voice tech in, too? This voice input also learns as it goes, improving on its accuracy the more you use it.
With tap, drawing and voice all catered for, Swype’s now setting itself up to be the de facto keyboard replacement app on Android. But it might not stop there. When pushed on the company’s future plans, Yee let slip that the Swype has “deals with almost all the major OEMs,” and that “some of them are integrating it now.”
So what about Swype outside of Android? It could happen. “There’s certainly a lot of end user demand for it,” says Yee, adding that Windows Phone users are apparently crying out for the app in their droves.
And the iPhone? “We’re constantly having discussions with all platforms about putting Swype technology on their OS. I can’t say absolutely, but we’ve been discussions with everybody and there’s interest.” Watch this space.
Link: Download Swype (Android 2.2+)