Feeds

SwiftKey plunders social networks for style

Working out what you were trying to say

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The latest version of mobile-keyboard SwiftKey will sample your Tweets and Facebook updates and work out what kind of writer you are to better guess what you're trying to say.

The idea isn't new: KeyPoint's Adaptxt does the same thing, though Swiftkey's latest version adds your Gmail outbox to the sources it uses to pinpoint the kind of language you use. Both companies reckon the process helps them make better predictions about what word you'll be using next, though only AdapTxt is entirely open source.

It's obvious to most people that touch-screen phones are badly designed for text input, but surprisingly few people are willing to hand over cash to improve the situation. Companies such as KeyPoint and Swipe (whose technology is based on sliding rather than tapping keys) like to make their money selling to device manufacturers rather than end users, but it's tough to draw attention from the big companies, which see few additional sales in an improved keyboard and are often unwilling to let small companies in the door.

KeyPoint hopes that going open source (under the Eclipse licence) will spur innovation and provide support for languages beyond the 50 or so that can already use Adaptxt. It must also be hoping that an open-source version will mollify handset manufacturers which might be reticent to do business with a small Glaswegian company; having an open-source base is more important to them than it is to end users.

SwiftKey, on the other hand, does sell direct to end users. The current version (listed at £1.23 in the Android Marketplace) doesn't do the social-networking thing to improve recognition rates, it just relies on previous behaviour and thus improves with use. There's a beta of the new version (already in the Marketplace) which is free to try if you want to see how well it works.

Actively seeking out the user's previous work should make the software more useful out of the box, and the company's demonstration video claims its software is ideal for profanity-spouting rugby fans prone to dropping into the Welsh vernacular (demonstrated by the Chief Commercial Officer).

Android does support Bluetooth keyboards these days (and mice – complete with tiny mouse pointer), but there's still room for soft keyboards that guess what we're trying to say even if they get it wrong every now and then. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Ancient pager tech SMS: It works, it's fab, but wow, get a load of that incoming SPAM
Networks' main issue: they don't know how it works, says expert
Trans-Pacific: Google spaffs cash on FAST undersea packet-flinging
One of 6 backers for new 60 Tbps cable to hook US to Japan
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.