December 18, 2014

My week with Swype: the end of my search for the perfect keyboard

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I remember when Swype was the biggest thing to hit the market. Everyone was so used to simple single-letter typing that the concept blew us all away at first. Swype was a closed beta for awhile, and everyone scrambled to sign up for it. Even when it was released to the public, Swype was a fairly big commodity. Personally, I was excited as well. At the time, I had never heard of such a concept, and I couldn’t wait to try it out. I was lucky enough to be a part of the closed beta, and I couldn’t put my trusty G1 down when I finally got that precious APK  file installed.

Swype brought new life to touchscreen typing for me, even if it was full of bugs. I didn’t care. Most first releases are rough drafts, and it was called a “beta” group for a reason. I was never truly appeased with the accuracy of Swype, and I used it on and off for the next year or so before eventually fell out of love with it. I jumped from keyboard to keyboard, never truly satisfied. I found some solace with Thumb Keyboard, but I knew I would never be able to type as quickly as I did with Swype.

Then, something happened that I now consider to be fate: I had the chance to review the Droid Razr Maxx. After powering up the device for the first time, and going through the setup process, I was curious about what input methods Motorola had given users. So, I jumped into a text box, and after a good old fashioned long press, and a quick tap of Input Methods, there she sat. My old flame, you could say.

In my review, I mentioned that I was never a huge fan of Swype (which is partially true), so I used the Motorola keyboard instead. After being contacted by a Swype rep, I had a sudden “what the hell?” moment, and downloaded the Swype installer for my G2X. It’d been a little over a year since I’d used the keyboard, so there must have been some changes to improve it, right? I started using Swype as my daily input method, and I have to admit, it brought back a few memories.

Was I impressed? With a technology like this, it’s hard not to be. I wasn’t blown away by the slight improvements that Swype had seen since our last encounter, but I was pleased. I used Swype for the next week, and didn’t have to switch to a normal keyboard once. Accuracy seemed much improved, and I even went to the trouble of adjusting the settings, so that accuracy got more attention than speed.

I noticed that virtually nothing has changed in terms of appearance for Swype, but that familiar draw-to-type motion is still as smooth as the day I first installed it those many moons ago. After just over a week of usage, I can firmly say that Swype and I have made up, and I’ll be using it as my daily input method for some time to come. I’m quite satisfied with the accuracy, and I’m definitely typing more quickly.

It’s as if I’m back in early 2011, the last time that I used Swype. But this time, it’s better. This time, I’m not jumping to another keyboard. This time, Swype is here to stay.



  • http://twitter.com/BenHoltsclaw Ben Holtsclaw

    If you think Swype is good, you should definitely check out Nuance’s FlexT9. It’s Swype and more.

  • PacoBell

    Wait, I thought Swype beta wouldn’t let you install over the system installation? How did you get that to work? Root?

  • Ron

    what about SlideIT keyboard, I love it… and it’s on the market!!

  • VEGIT8

    I have used Swype for a year, it’s the best I have found but I am still mad at them for not offering us arrow keys. It is very hard on my fat thumbs to navigate my candybar screen and place that stupid little cursor in the right spot to make corrections!

    • Josh

      Swipe from the Swype key to the symbol key next to it and you get arrow keys. You can also swipe from the Swype key to the letter t to get the number pad.

      • VEGIT8

        Wow, thanks!

        • Josh

          No problem! You can also use the swype key as “ctrl “and swipe from it to x, c, and v for cut, copy, and paste too. :-D

          • Erik Hanson

             Also, Swype + A to Select All, and Swype + 5 to bring up the numeric keypad. Swype is a seriously awesome keyboard, five stars all the way

  • Poodz

    The space bar is just as small as the “return” key. Kinda dumb. Concept is good though. Would be nice if you could remove all the extra crap there.

  • Chris Fatica

    Have you tried SlideIT? I have been impressed with its accuracy with my fast and sloppy typing. It has some really useful features in it like a toggle between sliding and tap typing. You can resize the whole keyboard too! If you haven’t, I’d recommend checking it out.

  • ctlaile

    Poodz,

    If you are Swyping (and not tapping), you don’t need to hit the space key because Swype automatically enters a space between words. :) So, the space key is only needed when entering words not in the user dictionary or when tapping in general. 

    Also, future Swype versions should allow a bit more flexibility when it comes to those pesky bottom-row keys. There’s a bit of conversation on these kinds of things at the Swype forums, which is pretty useful: http://forum.swype.com/forumdisplay.php?16-BETA-Feature-Requests

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  • OIK2

    I used Swype, but am now using SwiftKey.  As I used Swype, it had more and more items along the same paths, making me Swype, then touch type correct it.  As I use SwiftKey, it learns the phrases I use, meaning I can touch type 2 letters, then take the word prediction for the rest of the sentence.

    In summation, Swype got dumber as I used it while SwiftKey got smarter as I used it.

  • http://www.shagaholic.com/ sex tonight

    Thanks for the article. Very interesting.

  • 98clru

    guess you have rooted G2X? the screen shots are not from the stock g2x swype and last time I tried it wouldn’t install the new version. I would be interested in the steps to update my version or what you have used to root and new os. Thanks.

    • Justin Marden

      I am using a rooted G2X, running CM9. I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary to install Swype. I just went to beta.swype.com and followed the instructions without any issues.

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