Android and Me
Have you grown tired of the stock Android keyboard or are just looking to try something new? By now you have probably noticed that there are more keyboard replacements out there than you can shake a stick at (and believe me, I’ve tried). A little over a week ago, the competition for keyboard replacement apps got a lot stiffer, as SwiftKey beta was launched on the Android market. The SwiftKey beta seems to be an instant hit, as in its first week of existence it was downloaded over 100,000 times, which easily propelled SwiftKey to the top of our . But, how good is SwiftKey? I have spent the last couple of days with SwiftKey, and what follows are the impressions I’ve had thus far.
SwiftKey is truly a revolutionary new way to input text on your Android phone. When you initially set up SwiftKey, you are prompted to download one of dozens of language packs. Then, SwiftKey gives you the option to allow it to scan your SMS messages to get a feel for your typing style which customizes the word predictions it suggests to you going forward.
Where SwiftKey obviously shines is its word prediction feature. Up to 1/3 of the time, it accurately guesses what word you’re going to type next based on what you’ve typed up until that point. I was actually dumbfounded at the accuracy of SwiftKey. I posted a few Twitter messages and Facebook status updates using SwiftKey, and the word prediction seemed to be right even more than 1/3 of the time, and even if it wasn’t, typing only a few letters of the word I wanted would usually bring it up in the bubble so I could tap it and insert the word I wanted.
SwiftKey by and large looks and feels like the HTC_IME keyboard that comes preloaded on many HTC Sense devices, which is definitely a good thing. SwiftKey just feels more slick and attractive than the stock keyboard.
Though I know several of you differ on this, but in my opinion Swype has set the gold standard for on screen text-entry and is my keyboard of choice. That being said, I feel SwiftKey is the best non-swipe-to-type keyboard out there, and is easily worth downloading to see if it is enough to replace the stock keyboard, or whatever other keyboard replacement app you happen to be using. Because SwiftKey is still in beta, it is only going to get better before its final release.
SwiftKey has reached 100,000 downloads in just one week of being on the market for good reason; it is one of the best keyboard replacement applications out there, and I would strongly encourage you to download SwiftKey to check it out for yourself.
For more information on SwiftKey, head over to their
and/or check out the promo video below.
It’s a Cool keyboard but it does not do speech to text.
My problem with Swype is if you typing a long-ish word, you have to swype the ENTIRE word whereas on a regular keyboard typing just M-I-S, for example, is going to bring up Mississippi. To get Mississippi on Swype you’ll have to drag your finger across the screen for 10 seconds. In the end, I think it’s super cool and completely amazing, but not the fastest or easiest way to type.
I’ve been loving Smart Keyboard Pro but will definitely give SwiftKey a shot – it looks sweet.
I gave swype another shot after hating it the first time around and ended up liking it. But only for long words… You don’t even need to be close to hitting the correct letters on words like “restaurant” and it will know what you’re saying. For other words.. like “the”… it very often registered “threw” since my finger naturally went by the “r” key.
Tried swift key and found it distracting to continually look for the right predicted word. There have been a few times I’ve written out the word and NONE of the predicted words matched. Weird I know, but also impossible to correct unless you remove the space bar select feature.
So I’m back to stock better keyboard haha. Really is the fastest for me.
Great article Anthony! Swiftkey is def the best tap keyboard out there. I personally prefer swype but can see how some would not like it. Its always great to have options. It would be cool if you could have the best of both worlds and have swiftkey-like predictions when tapping on your swype keyboard. I sometimes find it hard to swype when drunk…
One thing I dont understand about this and the stock android keyboard….why do they not have a return key like the htc keyboard and every keyboard in existance does?
And if theres a combination keys that do the same job (something I’m missing?) then what are they?
This is very bad for sentencing and structure purposes.
If swype had this power of prediction (to fix mis-swyped words), it would be the killer keyboard app…
I’ve been using SwiftKey for awhile now, and i can say that your messages are typed faster then the stock android keyboard! the predictions for sentences are amazing and it saves words and sentences you have used and remember who you used it on!
i give it a 10/10!!!
Once you get used to Swype, where you just focus on typing entire sentences rather than letters or even words, it’s impossible to beat. SwiftKey might be good at predicting text, but you’re back to a typing style focused on letters and words, which is slower.
I tried it but had issues:
1. I speak English and Spanish and in Froyo I can just swype across the spacebar to switch between them, including speech to text! Swiftkey only supports one language.
2. No speech to text button.
3. When entering a recipient in email or SMS swiftkey would not trigger the addressbook to show me relevant contacts. No problem when switching to the stock keyboard.
4. I found the word suggestions to be lacking and I did not see the option to scan SMS nor is it in the settings.
I like SwiftKey, but i would prefer the auto completion functionality combined with the default android keyboard layout. This would be very fine for me 🙂
Is the “swype” technology patented? If not then a combination application of swype and swiftkey sounds like a winner. I use swype, haven’t tried swiftkey, but sounds like it has some addvantages not available to swype. Maybe a little copy-cat action is needed.
I’m a Swype user. I did try SwiftKey, which was impressive. But now that I’ve gotten Swype down, I’m pretty sure I’ll stick with it.
One thing I did notice with SwiftKey is that after analyzing my text messages, it typed out a completely coherent sentence just by tapping the “predicted word” a bunch of times! Kind of creepy! I wonder if it takes sentence structure and stuff like nouns and such into account. Probably not, but it was weird to see it “predict” what sentence I was gonna type.
System component replacements are one of the things that really prevent me from switching back to the iPhone. I really like the selection of apps and such on the iPhone 4, but I’ve got Swype, SlideScreen Pro, and Locale installed on my Nexus and it’s kind of a killer software combination.
The home screen now gives me most of my useful information without being ugly and cluttered (I like widgets, but they look bad when it’s a bunch of small floating gadgets) – 90% of the time I can do what I need to do directly from SlideScreen (sms, twitter, google reader, email, phone calls, weather…), and Locale is awesome for getting my settings properly configured without thinking about it. Add swype to the mix, and iOS looks clunky and slow by comparison.
…”there are more keyboard replacements apps out there than you can shake a stick at”.
Of course that makes perfect sense.
Soft keyboards suck so bad you gotta find something to help relieve the pain.
I’m sticking with a physical keyboard.
I installed it and uninstalled it in a matter of minutes based on the look of the key skin. The font they picked was terrible and overall it looked cheap.
I’m too shallow.
@Anthony, did you see this: BlindType
Is it better than smart keyboard pro?
I installed it, but it’s not showing up in my apps. I just have the stock android keyboard. maybe this APP is compatible with Froyo…?
Until alternate keyboards have the little mic button to speak ur words like the default, i wont switch.
Works great of FroYo, but I didn’t get the request for it to scan my SMS messages.
just installed it on my HTC desire, set it up and it is no different to the standard sense keyboard!
am I missing something or is it not working for me?
I don’t see why we’d have to choose between swype and this. I think they both have their pro’s and a combination would be perfect!
does anyone know what happened to Shapewriter? it was free (I wouldn’t have minded paying for it at all) and in ways seems superior to Swype.
god I miss shapewriter.
I had swiftkey installed but it just stopped working, uninstalled, rebooted, battery out, reboot, reinstall and it just launches the standard one. I have no idea why it has stopped working.
I installed SwiftKey. It’s actually pretty good and predicts words well. Unfortunately it doesn’t have Russian language pack [ yet ]. Interestingly, I’ve just typed the same message in different places and it looks like SwiftKey remembered the whole sentences or at least combinations of words. One thing I miss after using Swype is an automatic insertion of empty space after a word. Sometimes SwiftKey does it though… II’m not sure I get it.
Still, Swype is my keyboard of choice for now. I would use SwiftKey for Russian, but there is no such language pack. So, I am stuck with HTC_IME.
I loved SiftKey, but sadly had to uninstall it due to it sucking way to much system memory. It was sitting there taking up 23MB of memory.
Will defiantly try again when they fix that issue.
@Anthony, is Swiftkey better than HTC_IME? I installed HTC_IME hack on my Nexus One
long time ago and always use it to type in Cyrillic. Does it make sense to replace HTC_IME with Swiftkey?
Nothing is better than Swype when typing in English, but it doesn’t have Russian keyboard.
Since Swype supports a normal single symbol typing, it would be really great to combine in one super application swyping a-la Swype and regular typing with word prediction a-la Swiftkey.
Used it for a couple days. Was impressed but suffers from large diversion from standard keyboard typing. The dealbreaker for me was no microphone key to initiate the voice recognition. One could argue that voice recognition is less needed with this app but at the end of the day, nothing is better that not having to type/swype on a keyboard. Uninstalled it swiftly.
Not being able to dismisses the keyboard is the only bad thing I’ve found so far, but it does keep me from useing it.
the one thing about swiftkey I dont like is its too darn big.
It takes up almost the entire screen in portrait mode and it does take up the entire screen in landscape.
I think they made the buttons for predicted words too big and it seems like the text buttons have a little extra space they could shed.
but other than that its pretty good keyboard.
Better than stock android by a mile, and slightly better than the stock keyboard on samsung.
Its nice yes, But even on HTC Sense deviced I hardly use the word prediction of the keyboard as I feel like i’ll get lazy and start to forget how to spell words properly, And it only gets used when I cant spell a word correctly!
I cannot find Swype on the Market. I cannot find any other swipe type keyboard (other than the expensive looking foreign currency one mentioned earlier, SlideIt). I had a free swipe type keyboard once before but they removed their app from the market.
Are there any free alternatives to a swipe type keyboard?
i hate to say this but ive tried using the swiftkey and mabey its just me or i didnt use it enough but i hated it. i was acually typing words correctly and it would change them thinking i ment something else when i clearly did not. To swiftkey, i acualy enjoyed the switch back to the default.
I downloaded and tried it out.
I didn’t last a day with it installed.
I was typing the wrong keys (I rarely, if ever, did that with the stock keyboard) and I couldn’t find some characters I needed.
I really wanted to like it.
At first, when it should me words for things I had already spelled I thought ‘very cool’.
This is not a rant or complaint.
I just wanted to offer my experience with it.
Tried this app.
Got part way thru the install and the app crashed.
When I tried to restart it it kept crashing. It then kept poping up on the screen that it had crashed and needed to “force close”.
Every time I closed it I got the message within 10 seconde.
I finally managed to run the uninstaller and got rid of the problem.
I am using a Samsung Moment with 2.1
You’ve got to be kidding me… how much did they pay you for this title… Swype is so much faster and accurate… this article is really on the bad side of garbage…