We continue to rescue from the trunk of memories applications that fascinated us years ago and that we do not hear much more about. Today we will talk about Swype, one of the first and best third-party keyboards we had on Android.
Swype was a keyboard whose main advantage was power write by sliding from one key to another, without having to press each letter. Today most keyboards include swipe to type, but Swype was the first.
What was special about it?
The main peculiarity of Swype is the same that serves as the origin of its icon and its name: write by sliding from key to key instead of pressing each letter that makes up a word. Swype was not only the first on Android, but on the entire mobile phone landscape. The patent for his writing system dates from 2003.
Swype began its journey on Symbian and Windows Mobile and would not come to Android until 2010, although primarily in the form of pre-installed keyboard by the manufacturer on various models such as various Samsung models. In the early days the way to download it was downloading its APK from their website.
When it came to Google Play, its competition already had a sliding keyboard
He did not reach Google Play until much later, in 2013. His interest from the first moment was always writing by sliding on the keysAlthough when Swype came to Google Play, SwiftKey, its main competitor, already had a sliding keyboard in SwiftKey Flow.
In any case, everyone’s mind was still burned -helped by the icon and name- that Swype was the original sliding keyboard, a technique that he mastered better than the competition. In the following years there was a certain game of mouse and cat between SwiftKey and Swype, with various updates in which one added what the other had, and vice-versa.
Over the years, Swype became a very complete keyboard, with a large number of customization options. Its last major update would be version 3.0, which added the possibility of adding the row of numbers, the prediction of emojis and some other additional customization function.
What happened to Swype?
Swype was originally created by Swype Inc in 2002, although we on Android wouldn’t start hearing about it until well into 2010, a few months after it was out. purchased by Nuance Communications. Nuance is the creator of the famous Dragon Naturally Speaking, a speech recognition software specialized in dictation.
The Swype that we know in Android is primarily that of Nuance, and although this type of purchase sometimes makes us fear the worst for the application that has just been purchased, two months later the purchase brought good news for its users: Nuance speech recognition was integrated into Swype.
In subsequent updates Swype modernized its keyboard with topics, and the ability to precisely adjust the size of the keyboard or the vibration when pressing a key, all this still from the perspective of a beta that, as such, was free. With the arrival of Google Play, Swype officially became shareware: you could try it for 30 days, then you had to pay.
Swype came to Google Play too late, and pretty much everything he did next was pretty much in tow of the competition. He had started with a big advantage but had been late where he was most needed, and since then he has confined himself to walking while the competition strode with occasional sprints.
Interest in Swype has waned over time
Many who started with Swype continued to use it over the years, as these types of applications they work better the more you use them, but the issue changes when it comes to attracting new users.
The interest in Swype has waned over time as you can see in this graph from Google Trends (note: the peak is when it was announced for iOS 8). It is true that SwiftKey has a similar graph, but the latter has been stabilized for two years, while the decline of Swype is more pronounced.
Finally, what we fear will happen after an acquisition ended up happening: Nuance announced the end of Swype in February of this year, to focus on its business artificial intelligence solutions. The application already not available on Google Play And, although you can continue installing it from its APK, it will stop working in 30 days because integrated purchases do not work.
If today in a fit of nostalgia you installed Swype and you loved it, you would not be able to buy it, so it would stop working in 30 days. If you already paid for it, it is likely that it will continue to work for you, although will not be updated anymore, so sooner or later it will stop working.
Does it still make sense today?
In its last days, Swype was just another keyboard for Android, similar to Gboard or SwiftKey, although never made the leap to keyboards 2.0 with the enhanced multimedia functions supported in new versions of Android. That is, the support to send animated GIFs, stickers or something other than keys or emojis.
That unique methodology (sliding typing) was no longer exclusive to Swype, and practically every keyboard has been and has been included. Therefore, in 2018 Swype was basically one more keyboard, one more alternative if you are not convinced by Gboard, SwiftKey, Fleksy, Chroome or others. Yes, Swype still made sense today, just like the rest.
If we remember the Swype from its beginnings, the one that fascinated us with this new writing method that was out of the conventional, its meaning today would be even greater. The world of text input on Android is normalizing towards Gboard and most of the alternatives are more of the same.
A keyboard app that explore new ideas to streamline or improve the way we write texts on our mobiles would be very welcome. However, if this app ever arrives, it won’t be Swype. Rest in peace.
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