Hot on HuffPost Tech:

See More Stories
Engadget for the iPhone: download the app now
AOL Tech

SwiftKey for Android is like Swype, but for hyper-conservative Amish types that love tap-tap-tapping

If you own an Android phone, I hope you have Swype installed. I don't think I'm overstating it when I say that Swype is by far the most awesomest input mechanism ever invented for software keyboards.

But maybe you don't like swiping your finger across your screen. Maybe you like jabbing away at a hard, low-feedback, RSI-inducing touch screen. Maybe you're a closet masochist who likes antiquated, backwater input methods. Well, in that case, SwiftKey is really rather good -- it is, in essence, predictive text on steroids. It's a free download, too!

It has some rather neat features, as you can see in the screenshot to the right. It has a big, fat smiley button -- because everyone likes smileys. If you tap space, it inserts the emboldened suggestion in the middle. It also has a horizontal version that's a lot easier to use because, of course, the buttons are wider.

Like almost every probabilistic predictive text engine, SwiftKey learns as you type. For every SMS that you send, SwiftKey is one step closer to predicting your next SMS's format with rather scary accuracy. The SwiftKey site claims that typing a 55-word, 273-character message requires just 108 key presses. Of course, with Swype that would be just 55 key presses, but who's counting...

The magic doesn't end there, though! According to Engadget, SwiftKey actually scans the SMSes you sent prior to installation. This way it can quickly get up to speed on your writing style; very neat.

Anyway, there's a couple more screenshots, some tech specs and a video of SwiftKey versus standard predictive text on the Google Nexus One, after the break.

SwiftKey Tech Specs
  • Installed Size -- 2-5MB, with one language pack, including 'dynamic learning' data
  • Speed/Responsiveness -- Not lightning fast, but quick enough (Android 1.6 @ 600MHz, LG GT 540 Swift)
  • User Interface -- Excellent, easy access to options, can swipe to change upper/lower case, delete words
  • Configurability & Extensibility -- Has language packs for every major European language, and different keyboard layouts!
  • License -- Free, closed source. It might cost something once it leaves Beta testing?

Tags: android, android 1.6, Android1.6, app, free, input, on screen keyboard, OnScreenKeyboard, OSK, review, software, swiftkey, swype