Feeds

SwiftKey offers alternative for Android typists

But Swype remains an OEM-only option

Application security programs and practises

Android users searching for a better keyboard can now buy SwiftKey, a word-prediction technology. This is good, because Swype will never be available that way.

SwiftKey works by trying to guess what word the user is going to type next, a bit like Google Scribe, only useful. SwiftKey allows faster text entry for those who can select their next word rather than trying to type it. Android users have a handful of keyboard options, though the most popular - Swype - reckons selling to users is a mug's game.

Trying to squeeze a QWERTY keyboard onto a phone's screen is always going to be a compromise, to say the least. These days even iPhone users can connect a Bluetooth keyboard, but those using Android are stuck with what can be squeezed onto the screen and what software can be used to ease that compression.

Swype is a marvellous thing - the user traces paths between letters making up a word - but Swype is betting its future on selling to manufacturers rather than users. The company reckons that trying to support the plethora of Android or Symbian hardware and applications is more effort than it's worth - manufacturers can integrate support for Swype at a low level, ensuring greater compatibility.

Having recently tried a Freedom Pro Keyboard on Android, we can attest to the integration problems. Freedom Pro bodges a Bluetooth connection with drivers still in beta, and while it works most of the time it also suffers from obscure compatibility issues, such as only working in landscape mode in certain applications.

Those problems should disappear, but they are indicative of the difficultly of replacing the input mechanism on a platform that wasn't designed with that in mind. Windows Mobile, for all its faults (and it had many) provided an interface specifically for developers wanting to replace the keyboard. Windows Phone 7 will apparently offer the same thing, assuming anyone is interested.

We've only had the quickest look at SwiftKey, which is being launched with a three-day discount price of 69 pence. But if you're not blessed with a handset supporting Swype, and can't wait for proper Bluetooth support, then it's probably worth taking advantage of the Android Marketplace's 24-hour money-back deal to take a look. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Orange spent weekend spamming customers with TXTs
Zero, not infinity, is the Magic Number customers want
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
NBN Co execs: No FTTN product until 2015
Faster? Not yet. Cheaper? No data
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.