Back in June Android keyboard app SwiftKey launched version 3.0 of its software, following its rival Swype announcing a major update to their software. Swype incorporated a traditional key-tapping interface (like SwiftKey) plus a slew of other features, including speech-to-text dictation using developer Nuance’s Dragon Go system.
These additions to Swype has prompted Swiftkey to improve upon their app in an effort to offer what many presume as the definitive keyboard app for Android. Well it appears SwiftKey’s latest move to counter Nuance-owned rival Swype is to adopt a Swype-style input method — allowing users to drag their fingers over the screen to form words, rather than needing to tap out individual letters. Many have seen this feature highlighted on Samsung’s Galaxy SIII device where you drag your finger to each letter eventually forming a word. SwiftKey is calling its new feature SwiftKey Flow and refers to the process as fingers “gliding” over the screen.
SwiftKey has stated that its new Flow system incorporates its existing word prediction engine — which analyzes users’ writing styles (utilizing existing SMS, emails and social media communications) to tailor corrections and next-word predictions. According to SwiftKey, the system correctly predicts around a third (30 percent) of next-words before any characters are entered, and 84 percent of next words after two characters have been entered.
Commenting on the launch of Flow, SwiftKey CEO Jon Reynolds added in a statement: “We know our users have different tastes and habits — this way they’ll get to choose what style of writing suits them best without compromising the power of the predictions.”
SwiftKey is a U.K. startup, founded back in 2008. It’s received around 10 million downloads to date, and employs more than 70 people. Its software is available in 44 languages currently.