Swype has come up with the best touch text input concept I’ve ever come across – good enough to make me think I don’t need a physical keyboard anymore on my phone. And that’s saying something, as I’ve disliked touch keyboards since day one.
I first saw Swype as a concept video from a researcher’s page the summer of 2010, and thought it was a fantastic idea. Instead of tapping away on keys you simply swipe your finger along the keyboard, moving from letter to letter without lifting your finger from the touch screen. I assume it detects slight pauses or sharp changes in direction to determine which letters you actually want.
In Nov 2010 I suddenly found it on a friend’s new Cricket Android Zio from Sanyo. I tried it out, and it was just as fantastic as I’d hoped! Without even checking any tutorial videos out, I could already type faster and more accurately than on my Verizon DROID‘s physical keyboard, much less the virtual keyboard. It’s predictive text and auto suggestion were very accurate and helpful, too.
There’s an Android beta you can sign up for right now – do yourself a favour and get it! (there’s plans to release versions for the iPhone and BlackBerry as well, but for now you can only get the beta for Android) There are also tons of non-obvious features show cased in video tips & tricks as well, most of them pretty intuitive to use. My favourite is a trick that makes capitalization a breeze – just duck up off the keyboard and back down again when tracing.
My text input speed has increased so much since using I started using Swype, I could ditch the physical keyboard altogether and still be happy – something I never thought I’d say after so many frustrating attempts at pecking away on the screen. Get it, try it, love it!