Keyboards on smartphones used to be boring and simple, it’s understandable, it just had to receive user inputs to form text in the screen and that’s it, extra features included a dictionary option to make typing faster via auto-complete but the general idea was it was an often-overlooked part of smartphone software; until Swype keyboard. This alternative keyboard for smartphones had a clever feature, slide your fingers over the letters of the word you want to spell out and it magically forms the word. At first it was limited but it grew and became adaptive to the point that Google applied the feature to its own Google Keyboard that comes as the stock Android keyboard on all Android phones. Not only that the app’s paid version is also pre-installed in most brands’ smartphones as the default keyboard.
Swype is Taking the Bull by Its Horns With its Tactile Interface
Back when smartphones were a bit “conservative” in size with screen sizes of 3.5 inches being the norm and units with 4.5 inch screens and larger were considered huge phones, the typing area on most devices were very limited and often resulted in frustration with the stock keyboards, often there is a need for alternative keyboards, with Swype made typing easier because it removed the root cause of the typing frustration; the typing itself. The app comes in two flavors of free and paid which includes a 30-day free trial. Various themes can be setup to customize the look. The keyboard interface consists of three rows of letters, with the bottom row reserved for the spacebar and alt button toggles to switch keyboards as well as the Swype button which lets you use many of the app’s clever gestures as well as voice features.
Being the first app to popularize the idea of typing by sliding your finger over letters of the word you want is its biggest feature. Swype for Android and iOS also includes gesture controls using the swype button on the lower left corner of the keyboard and it has tons of gesture controls to free up precious screen real estate. A swipe from the swype button to “a” lets you select all text, a swipe from the swype button towards “5” lets you access the number pad, a swipe towards “M” is a shortcut to a question mark. The app encourages one handed use however with today’s larger phones, users with smaller hands can may find it difficult to reach the more extreme parts of the keyboard making them revert back to two handed tap typing defeating the app’s purpose.
There’s no denying that Swype was a pioneering app for smartphones, it’s an awesome keyboard to have but your results may vary depending on whichever way you find it more comfortable to type on your smartphone.
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