Swype Releases Major Upgrade for the Android (freeware)

Nuance releases the new Swype beta for Android devices. Senior Contributor Isaac Kendall, a BlackBerry loyalist, loves using it on his virtual keyboard. Here’s why.

Nuance releases new Swype beta for Android; including syncable dictionary and personalized next word prediction

If you’re not familiar with Swype, it’s possibly the best keyboard option for Android smartphones. Rather than pecking at individual keys on the virtual keyboard you Swype your finger across the screen to each letter and words appear as if by magic.

To put my smartphone use history in context, here’s a little background on me as a smartphone user. Until recently I’d been a diehard BlackBerry user, a ferocious evangelist for the RIM platform to the point of almost being a zealot. Earlier this year, the company I work for got a new CRM platform that only had two platform options: Android or iOS. As a card-carrying CrackBerry-addict there was no way I was going to buy an iPhone so it was Android for me.

My choice was the Galaxy Nexus. I thought there would be a high probability that I would burst into flames for leaving the BlackBerry. Thankfully it did not happen. As enjoyable as the Android experience was, there was one function I could not get used to. I really missed the physical keyboard from my beloved Bold 990. Thumb typing on the virtual keyboard just didn’t do it for me. A friend recommended I try the Swype keyboard. It didn’t make much sense — I mean it was still a virtual keyboard, righ? I tried it and it was truly amazing. I didn’t even miss the physical keyboard challenge.

Swype just got better with the launch of a new beta now available for public download. Similar to the SwiftKey program, Swype scans your SMS and social networks (provided you grant permission). It does this to learn the way you type and uses that data to predict your next word. I am very excited that this could make the Android input experience get better and better.

I do have one observation about the Android keyboard experience. Whichever your choice is, none of them can compare to the physical BlackBerry keyboard for typing while driving. Here in British Columbia that carries a ridiculously expensive fine. So having a phone you can’t type on while driving is not necessarily a bad idea….

Screenshot: Isaac Kendall

Swype logo: Swype

Check out the Swype beta in action.

Here’s the press release on the Swype beta.

Nuance Launches Next Generation Swype -Swype’s New Living, Learning Keyboard Gets Smarter Every Time You Use It

Burlington, Mass. – June 20, 2012 – Nuance Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) today announced the next-generation Swype keyboard, a four-in-one keyboard that is a revolutionary step forward in the way people communicate and input text on their mobile devices. Swype now combines touch and voice input with unique adaptive capabilities to understand users’ preferences over time – becoming smarter and more personalized every time they swype, speak, tap and write.
Staying connected has never been more exciting as Swype provides consumers with more choice in how they input text, and now interprets a user’s personal language style – ultimately providing an amazingly fast, flexible, and accurate experience. New features include:

  • Next Word Prediction: Swype’s next word prediction is amazingly intelligent as Nuance has integrated capabilities from its renowned XT9 portfolio. Swype gets smarter based on historical usage, so prediction becomes more accurate with each use.
  • Voice-Text Dictionary Syncing: Swype now includes a personal dictionary. Every new word a user enters on the keyboard gets added to their personal dictionary for speech and text, and you can even have Swype learn from emails, texts and posts. These updates are then mapped into Swype’s unified language model, so people can immediately speak or write that same word no matter how unique or specialized.
  • Language Downloads: Swypers everywhere can communicate in any language they speak, as Swype now supports the download of over 55 languages right from the device.
  • Four-in-One Keyboard: Swype now delivers a 4 input modalities in one keyboard. People can:
    • Swype from letter to letter
    • Type rapidly with predictive text input powered by XT9
    • Speak their text naturally through a fully integrated Dragon button
    • Simply write letters, words and symbols using their fingertip.
  • Further, users can switch back and forth between modalities on the fly – providing the ultimate in keyboard personalization.

“People use their keyboards every day in every way – so input needs to be fast and simple,” said Michael Thompson, executive vice president and general manager, Nuance Mobile. “The new Swype living, learning keyboard ushers in a new era of input, where the keyboard adapts to the users’ unique way of communicating every time they swype, speak, tap or write.”