Nuance-owned Swype, which makes virtual keyboards for mobile devices, has released a new version (v1.3) of its software which adds the ability to backup and sync your personal dictionary across multiple mobiles devices — so you can take your slang with you. It also now offers dictionary updates for relevant trending ‘hot words’ — so you can take other people’s slang with you too. Fortunately the latter is an opt-in feature.
The latest Swype update is more of a minor ‘spit and polish’ than the major update released back in June – which added multiple input methods including a voice-to-text option, XT9 predictive text for those who do want to tap out each letter, and the ability to hand write characters and have them converted to text (useful for character-based languages such as Chinese). That update also introduced a personalised dictionary — something Nuance is building on now by letting users sync their slang across all their Swype-friendly devices.
Other new features included in the latest version are three different versions of the Swype keyboard for tablets — so you can choose between using the original Swype keyboard; a small, moveable keyboard; or a split screen keyboard. Having different sizes and types of keyboard on tablets is important since the larger form factor of some slates can make Swype’s finger-dragging input method slower than classic touch-typing.
The new version also adds the ability to customise the look of the keyboard by choosing one of 10 different themes. And there are some language-related updates too — with enhancements to Swype’s Chinese and Japanese keyboards, and more languages getting its Advanced Language Models which is used to predict the words and phrases Swype users write the most.
Swype comes preinstalled on lots of Android phones — but can also be downloaded via beta.swype.com (from tomorrow) to devices it’s not already installed on (albeit it won’t work on every piece of Android hardware). The software is also offered for download to Symbian phones, and comes pre-installed on some MeeGo devices.
Swype is not available for iOS (unless you jail break) or for Windows Phone.