There are a few big names in Android text input, and one of the biggest is SwitfKey. This keyboard’s claim to fame is its aggressive, but almost clairvoyant autocorrect feature. The new SwiftKey 3 beta has been released, but you have to sign up for the SwiftKey VIP forums to get access. Sound like a hassle? It might be worth your time.
SwiftKey has had excellent set up screens since version 2, and the new version 3 beta is no exception. It walks you through enabling SwiftKey and setting it as the default input device. SwiftKey’s autocorrection gets better the more data is has on you. You can feed words in as you type, or allow the keyboard to access and analyze your Twitter, Facebook, or Gmail. This too is covered in the setup, but is explicitly optional. This massive influx of data will make SwiftKey more useful, faster.
The user interface has been redesigned for SwitfKey, and it was definitely time. The old version had a distinctly Gingerbread look that clashed with Android’s new blue aesthetic in Ice Cream Sandwich. The default theme is called Cobalt, and it’s largely gray and blue. However, the keys are bizarre curved shapes. I found that off putting, but the new Holo theme is much more understated, and just fits in with Android 4.0.
As for typing, there is definitely some new magic in SwiftKey. If you set it to speed mode, it will correct more words, and it’s actually very accurate. If you’re a more careful typist, the precision mode still works fine. SwiftKey is picking up more errors from missing spaces than it once did, and the borderline-creepy prediction bar is still alarming. You can just load up suggestions instead of typing and get coherent sentences — sometimes even sentences you want.
This beta download is free, but once it is ready for general consumption, you’ll have to buy SwiftKey in the Play Store to continue using it. So far, I’m impressed.
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