Just found out about SwiftKey 4 release for Android smartphone. The company offers a free version to try for one month. This is very important since a keyboard’s usability is very important.
One of the major changes in this version of SwiftKey is that it supports gesture input. Many keyboards support some form of gesture input and this was probably made more popular by Swype, another keyboard.
Does anyone need another keyboard?
If you are already habituated with the stock keyboard and are very thumbsical, you probably don’t need another. If your on an IPhone you may not have much choice in the matter.
Swiftkey or Swype?
So far I think in the gestural aspects, Swype is the clear leader. Swiftkey has a hard time with double keys, for example. One outstanding feature of Swiftkey is the gestural input that incorporates the space bar. You don’t have to lift the finger to type a whole sentence.
Prediction? Yeah, right. I can predict that the prediction on any keyboard will predictably drive you up the wall.
Example SwiftKey stats
After you use Swiftkey for a while you can access its status screen and see the record of how it helped with your typing. For example, I have:
- Efficiency: +35%
- Distance Flowed: 81.06m
- Keystrokes saved: 1,384
- Typos corrected: 205
- Words flowed: 938
- Words predicted: 9
- Words completed: 124
And, I’m not even a heavy duty texter.
Keyboard version confusion
The whole keyboard thing on smartphones is not very clear. For example, with these two, they are available in vague ways.
SwiftKey is an app download on Play Store, but it is also included in the new Samsung Galaxy S4, or is only part of the SwiftKey technology included?
Swype is available on Android as one of the stock keyboards one can enable, yet it is has a potential new version. To get that Swype version one must join the beta program to help develop it, currently at version 18.104.22.16805. The stock Swype does not have the latest prediction engine (XT9) and voice input by Dragon voice recognition. Will the new Swype ever ship?
Which to use?
I’m halfway thru my trial period using SwiftKey. Do I switch permanently to it? I’m leaning that way. The price is a the same as one cup of coffee, it’s not a money thing at least.
April 25, 2013: Swype finally is released as a non-beta download on Google Play store.
- Swype vs Swiftkey Flow An excellent review that examines the subtle details
about the gestural aspects of each keyboard.
- Smartphones Are Reinventing—And Ditching—the Keyboard
- Samsung Galaxy S4 Will Come Pre-loaded with SwiftKey
- Swype on Wikipedia