Keyboard software maker SwiftKey’s answer to Swype has now been added to the latest version of its software, SwiftKey 4, launching today on Google Play for Android smartphones and tablet users. The finger-gliding input method, which SwiftKey calls Flow, brings the software up to speed with rival keyboard software maker Swype, now owned by Nuance.
The pair have been scrambling to build out their respective software keyboard feature-sets in a game of one-upmanship with SwiftKey launching version 3.0 of its software last June, just after Swype announced a major update in which it added a traditional key-tapping interface — a la SwiftKey — plus other features such as speech-to-text dictation using Nuance’s Dragon Go system.
SwiftKey said its Flow system includes a feature that lets users type multiple words without lifting their finger off the screen — by sliding over the spacebar once each word has been spelt. This is a slight variation on Swype’s system which automatically inserts a space when the user lifts their finger off the screen at the end of the word.
As with Swype, SwiftKey 4 users aren’t forced to Flow: the software still includes the ability to tap out words in the traditional fashion. As well as Flow, other new features include support for more languages — now up to 60 languages (vs Swype’s more than 55 languages) from 44 back in October — as well as improved corrections, and a feature that adjusts the software to a user’s typing style to improve key-strike accuracy.
Here’s SwiftKey’s full breakdown of the new features in version 4 of its software:
- SwiftKey Flow — blending SwiftKey’s mind-reading next-word prediction and autocorrect with the speed of gesture typing
- Flow Through Space — lets users write entire sentences in one motion without ever having to lift their finger to add a space
- Support for contextual prediction across 60 languages — with new support for Albanian, Bosnian, Javanese, Sundanese, Thai and Vietnamese, all with dynamic auto-correction and next word prediction
- Easier corrections — tap on a word and SwiftKey 4 will move the cursor to the end of the word and offer two alternatives
- Personalised typing style — whether you write inaccurately with two thumbs or more carefully using a single finger, SwiftKey 4 now automatically adapts to how users type to provide more insightful corrections and predictions
SwiftKey unveiled Flow last October and it said beta versions of the app have been tested with its VIP community of 200,000 users over the past 11 weeks, with more than 2.4 billion characters inputted using the system.
Flow has also been incorporated into SwiftKey’s latest SDK, which it confirmed to TechCrunch has already been licensed to a handful of major OEMs — not all of which are using the Android platform. “These devices are not just confined to Android, as our SDK is platform agnostic,” the company said.
SwiftKey’s website notes its SDK supports “Android, C++, iOS, JVM (Java, Scala), Linux, Mac OS X, .Net (C#, VB), QNX, WebOS, Windows”.
SwiftKey 4 is a free upgrade for existing users. New users can currently download it for $1.99 (normal price: $3.99).