Swype, the gesture based input method, has finally been freed from it's OEM / limited Beta shackles and has made it to the Play Store... but is it too late?
Once upon a time, Swype was a truly innovative piece of software. It's gesture based input was completely unique and users longed to have it on their devices... however Swype pursued a strategy of licencing their product primarily to OEMs and not making it available elsewhere (with the exception of those in their Beta programme).
Fast forward to 2013 and things have changed - SwiftKey now have their 'Flow' offering which is very similar and even the standard Jelly Bean keyboard has a swiping input mode. Are people still going to buy Swype?
There's quite a few reasons they might... even aside from the 99c introductory price!
All of the features you'd expect in a top end keyboard are there - typing, swiping (in 60 languages) and voice dictation modes, the latter using Dragon Dictation voice technologies, making it - for me - one of the most accurate voice input methods around (not to mention including support for 36 languages). That said, I don't really use voice input features in general but someone must do? Right? Is it you?
As well as an extensive dictionary on device, Swype includes a couple of neat features. The first is 'cloud sync' for your personal dictionary which, if you change devices a lot like me, is a real killer feature. In addition to the on-board dictionaries, you can opt in to a crowd sourced dictionary for 'the hottest words and phrases'. ;) Quite cool for popular names and the like.
One plus point for Swype over it's SwiftKey competitor is that both phone and tablet keyboards are included in the single purchase, with the tablet keyboard offering regular, small and split keyboard layouts for convenience.
A feature I noticed in Swype that originated in one of my previous-favourite input methods (TouchPal) is gesture support... specifically swiping down on a key to enter the punctuation on that key. Such a useful feature and one of a number of gestures in Swype.
At 99c to buy and with a free trial available, it's definitely worth trying out. I have to confess that I personally am a SwiftKey convert nowadays so while I have shelled out to buy a copy and i'm giving it a fair crack of the whip, i'm not sure there's enough to tempt me over. That said, I know there are some really big Swype fans out there.
Head on over to the Play Store to buy / try. Let us know how you get on! :)