I remember it fondly. It was 2010 and I was sitting in a seminar when I received an email from a friend regarding the innovative keyboard, Swype. At this time Swype was installed on phones by manufacturers (Samsung Galaxy S was one of the first) but was unavailable to purchase or use by those not using these phones. Swype were finally opening its doors to the public in the form of a public beta. Within 2 minutes I was signed up to said beta program. I started using Swype and like many others fell in love with it. Problem was that the beta eventually closed, locking a lot of users out.
For many people in the days of smaller screens where tap/touch typing and auto correction were not what they are now Swype was a godsend to many people. For some though, along with this closed beta program the effort of first installing an install app, then entering passwords etc on the Swype site to download the app I eventually gave up on it as did many others. All this extra effort was just not worth it for us.
Then along came other keyboards that use the swiping functions to type- TouchPal, Kii, Swiftkey, SlideIT, AOSP jellybean keyboard- and it appeared to many that Swype had been left behind and their business model of selling to manufacturers only may not have been in their best interest.
Fast forward three years to today and Swype’s new owners, Nuance (of the Dragon Naturally Speaking fame) have decided to share with everyone the keyboard that was once considered the best keyboard available on the Google Play Store. The introductory price is 99cents which is extremely cheap for a keyboard so it seems that Nuance are trying to win some users back. I have paid for many keyboards- Smartkeyboard, Swiftkey, Kii, SlideIT, plus others whose relevance has long since passed by the wayside- and every single one of them cost several times this. There is also a free trial available which will give you a fully functional Swype keyboard for 30days.
There appears to be several new functions to the keyboard since I used it last including a split keyboard, next word prediction (ala Swiftkey), and themes. Interestingly, the description on the Play store mentions tablet functionality but it wouldn’t let me install it onto my Nexus 7. Maybe this is just an oversight on their behalf?
While it’s great to finally see Swype available to the general public the question is though, is it too late for Nuance to cash in on Swype which was at one time heralded as the most innovative keyboard for Android? Have the swiping functions of other keyboards surpassed the functionality of Swype which was once king in said domain?
Have you used Swype in the past? Are you still using it? Will you be buying the new version on the Play store? What keyboard is it replacing?