Thursday, April 25, 2013

Finally: Swype slide-to-enter-text keyboard appears in the Google Play Store

On Wednesday, and for the first time, the Swype keyboard application entered the Google Play Store. Previously, users could only obtain the app via the beta version offered on Swype's website, or through embedded versions in device ROMs.

The company said that it will continue to embed versions into the ROMs of various OEMs, but entry into the play store gives those who have devices sans Swype in the ROM an easier way to get the app. Until now, though, the app has been free. Parent company Nuance, which acquired Swype in October of 2011, chose to charge $0.99 for the app.

The Play Store blurb for the app also says that $0.99 is an introductory price. It's unclear what the price will be later, after the offer expires.

Swype is famous for being what many say is the best slide-to-enter-text keyboard on Android. In this, and other keyboards such as Swiftkey, which recently added the Flow feature to its keyboard, a user slides from key-to-key to enter a word.

As an example, to enter "the," a user slides from "t" to "h" to "e" without lifting his finger. The program will offer a selection of possible words, with the one that Swype thinks is correct highlighted.

Swype says it characterizes users in the following categories:
  • Swype’r: Swype’s success is based on its core Swype algorithm and advanced language models — it has set the bar and others have followed. Swype’rs quickly and easily move from one letter to the next, and combined with XT9, Swype predicts words and phrases as they input text making it the fastest input experience available.
  • Typer: The Typer uses both hands and enters text as fast as possible without paying much attention to the screen until the end of the sentence. But Typers will not sacrifice accuracy with Swype’s XT9 Sloppy Type algorithms and Smart Touch, which adjusts to typing styles based on where fingers hit the screen. And Swype’s Smart Editor is an added bonus as it suggests edits based on the entire sentence.
  • Tapper: The Tapper is methodical and precise and often looks back and forth between the keyboard and the output, making extensive use of Swype’s word completion and next word prediction. Swype has the most robust language models that predict even the longest commonly used phrases. For example, the phrase ”Dancing with the Stars” will appear as an entire phrase just as soon as the word “Dancing” is tapped.
  • Dictator: Dictators love the ability to quickly and easily speak their text with the power of Dragon, just by hitting the Dragon flame on the Swype keyboard. Dragon offers incredible flexibility when multitasking, hands-busy, or simply on the go.
The version in Google Play is currently

Among the features of Swype are:
  • Swype Living Language: Swype crowd-sources and updates a user's dictionary with the latest trending words. (Opt-in)
  • Next Word Prediction: Swype learns a user's vocabulary and predicts words based on prior usage.
  • Personal Dictionary Backup and Sync: A user's personal Swype dictionary is synced to the cloud, and from there to other devices. (Opt-in)
  • Dragon Dictation’s famed voice recognition (available in 36 languages).
  • Smart Editor: Analyzes an entire sentence, underlines potential errors, and includes suggestions for the most likely alternatives.
  • Dragon Mobile Assistant: Now integrated into the Swype keyboard. Users with both apps on a device you can quickly launch Dragon’s hands-free mobile assistant directly from the Swype keyboard with a single gesture. Swyping from the Swype Key to the Dragon flame shortcut on the keyboard activates Dragon Mobile Assistant.
  • Tablet Keyboards included (some other apps have different tablet keyboards that must be paid for separately). Swype includes three tablet modes to choose from, including: the original Swype keyboard, a small and moveable keyboard, and a split keyboard for easy tablet input.
Swype is bettering the Play Store's normal 15 minutes for a refund. The company is offering a 30-day trial.

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