As many of you know, I love using Swype on my Android phones. Tracing is just much faster than typing for me. Swype has its quirks and is far from perfect, so I was intrigued to learn that SwiftKey has a swipe-based keyboard in beta. A favorite of many Android users, SwiftKey is known for its powerful prediction engine. The company is combining that prediction engine and a swipe-based keyboard in a product called SwiftKey Flow.
In a recent post on the company blog, SwiftKey’s Joe Braidwood wrote:
SwiftKey Flow harnesses the unrivaled predictive power of SwiftKey to give a completely new take on continuous input, offering real-time prediction as you begin to ‘flow’ a word on the keys.
This is different to the other keyboards out there. It’s been built from the ground up based on SwiftKey’s powerful engine. From the moment you touch the screen, SwiftKey Flow begins offering predictions based on the movement of your finger. Simply let go of the screen as soon as the desired word is predicted – sometimes four or five characters before you’ve finished gesturing it out — and SwiftKey seamlessly enters your word onto the screen.
When I first started using Swype, there was only one competitor available: ShapeWriter. Since then, Nuance has acquired both ShapeWriter and Swype, dominating the gesture-based keyboard scene. If you wanted to use such a keyboard, you either had to use Swype (available on most Android phones) or HTC Trace (an HTC exclusive).
While I’m happy with Swype, there are several things about it that could be better. Predictive text is one of them and that’s an area where ShiftKey excels. I’m thrilled about SwiftKey Flow because competition will make both of these products — and future competitors — better.
If you’re interested in SwiftKey Flow, you can sign up for the beta here.
Any of you excited for SwiftKey Flow?