SwiftKey is the only thing I have ever bought from the Google Play Store, so I am always glad to hear about an update and accompanying enhancements to its already excellent features. Yes fat fingered, slow and clumsy texters can rejoice - SwiftKey 4 is here to make textual communications with an Android device much less painful.
SwiftKey Flow gesture typing
This sounds familiar; BlackBerry was quite pleased with its gesture typing implementation on the new BlackBerry Z10 touch screen keyboard. The BlackBerry 10 user interface also had quite a bit of flow terminology attached to its functionality. However the new SwiftKey doesn’t have you flicking the auto-suggested words onto the typing area like BB10, it’s much more like an integration of Swype into the program. A great innovation in SwiftKey 4 however is that, unlike in Swype (the last time I tried it), you never have to pick up your finger off the screen thanks to “Flow through space”.
SwiftKey 4 doesn’t shackle you to this new gesture typing input method, or to traditional on-screen thumb typing or to finger hunt-and-peck styles, you can freely switch around between the styles as you feel, varying from word to word.
The key new features of SwiftKey 4 are:
- 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
- Personalized 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
Ben Medlock, SwiftKey co-founder and CTO discussed the latest release and the overall philosophy behind the soft-keyboard “we built SwiftKey to understand the context of words, not just their spelling. It works from the word go to adjust to you - from the phrases you write to how you touch the screen. It means you don’t have to worry about typing, it does all the hard work for you.”
The program learns from your typing history and the common terms and names you use most often but importantly the developers note “We take your privacy very seriously. This keyboard does not learn from password fields and all language data learned on your device is stored on your device’s internal memory or SD card and never transferred.”