We told you this was coming: Swype has just made it possible for any Android handset owner to download their innovative touch-screen enabled text-input application straight from the website. Which means a whole lot of people can henceforth start challenging that Guinness World Record for speedy textin’ using Swype.
Up until today, Swype came pre-installed on only a fraction of available Android phones (including the all new Motorola Droid X) due to its licensing business model, although the company did open up to 25,000 eager beta testers a couple of months ago – most of whom seem to have completely fallen in love with it.
Well, anyone can download it now, but only for a limited time (a couple of days) and with a somewhat limited feature set. Important: it won’t work if you have a phone that came pre-installed with Swype and support will be via Swype’s forums only.
What Swype does is provide a faster, easier way to input text on any screen using your finger or a stylus, which makes it particularly useful for tablet computers and smartphones. It has a built-in database of words, so you don’t even need to be super accurate when swyping.
Swype already supported English and has now also added support for Italian and Spanish, which we’re told were the most often requested additional languages.
The Swype app should run seamlessly on all Android versions. Note that it isn’t available for download from Android Market – you need to actually visit the Swype website and make sure your phone’s settings allow you to install and run apps from ‘unknown sources’.
For your background: Swype was developed by founders Cliff Kushler (co-inventor of T9) and Randy Marsden (the developer of the onscreen keyboard included in Windows), along with a team of programmers and linguists. The company has to date raised $7.9 million from investors like DoCoMo Capital, Samsung Ventures and Nokia Growth Partners.
Here’s a recent interview Michael Arrington did with Swype CEO Mike McSherry: