Saturday, October 19, 2013

SwiftKey Updates it's Amazing Keyboard App with New Beta Release

One of my favorite things about Android is that you can easily customize any of its stock apps by replacing it with a more full featured alternative from the Play Store. I switched to SwiftKey a while back and have never looked back, replacing my HTC and Samsung keyboards in the past and my stock Google one presently. SwiftKey's auto-correction and prediction software is amazing and with their addition of Flow, which added Swype-like features it pretty much sealed the deal and it has been my default keyboard on all my Android devices.

The biggest change in the new beta update is “Layouts for Living,” which gives users the ability to create custom keyboard layouts to best fit their device, preferences, and current action. For me this update addresses one of the last major things I could currently ask for, further customization and the ability to adapt the keyboard on the fly to what I'm doing. It also allows for drastically different landscape and portrait layouts which I've found to be very helpful for my Nexus 7 and other larger devices.

SwiftKey is providing three common presets:

Compact: On many larger phones it can be difficult to enter text and hold the phone with just one hand. This new feature minimizes the width of the keyboard and allows for easier typing with one-hand or gesture typing using SwiftKey Flow. It also frees up more of the screen estate on tablets.

Full: Users with large screens can now opt for a full-width keyboard with left-right cursor control keys and a backspace key above the “Enter” key. By placing the keys closer together, this new layout mimics the experience of two-handed typing on a physical keyboard.

Thumb: For people typing on tablets in landscape and with wide phones in portrait the keyboard can be split into two sections, enabling fast, comfortable typing with both thumbs.

Another significant change in this update is that the phone and tablet versions have been merged, no longer requiring the purchase of two different apps (they have a one month free trial). I've found this keyboard, especially with its new levels of even more customization, to be one of the best keyboard options on Android.

Check out the beta here but keep in mind it is a beta and has been released to test for and hammer out any bugs before the official release. I've been using it for a few days now with no issues. Also, because it's a beta you will have to install it from the downloaded apk file with a file manager app of some sort as well as allow the installation of non-Play Store apps when prompted. I'm really impressed with the update and look forward to its final release. Check it out in the video below!

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