Touchtype's original QWERTY SwiftKey Keyboard
has been a massive success, garnering five-star reviews almost across the board and giving rivals like Swype something to think about. Touchtype has followed it up with SwiftKey X Beta, which is a free download (for the time being).
Swiftkey X Beta takes the standard SwiftKey Keyboard formula and adds the ability to learn from Twitter, Facebook and Gmail into the mix, effectively allowing maximum customisation from the off, without having to tap out a skip load of missives to teach SwiftKey the, erm, cut of your jib, as it were. It's been developed with a closed group of testers over the past few months, delivering feedback and honing the final product. We were one of those testers, although as reviewers we took a back seat and let the others do the hard work on the premise that it would be unethical of us to get too involved with an app we'd be reviewing. Or was it just plain laziness? You decide...
SwiftKey X currently supports 17 languages, including English (UK & US), Czech, Dutch, French, German and Indonesian and you can enable up to two language modules at once to allow you to switch between your favoured dialect at any time. Touchtype is currently working on adding support for a 3rd simultaneous language module.
For those of us that are less precise with our digits, SwiftKey X also adds the ability to learn your typing style. If you continually hit 'x' when you mean to hit 'c', it'll learn that and suggest words with the letter it thinks you meant to type.
During our test, we found that SwiftKey was able to create entire messages based around what we'd said in previous messages. In fact, if you use the same text word-for-word as a previous message, you only need tap out a couple of letters before SwiftKey begins to predict what you're trying to write. It's hugely impressive and, for the uninitiated, is tantamount to mind-reading. Impressive stuff indeed.
If we have one bugbear with SwiftKey, it's that the UI doesn't require you to hit the spacebar, ever. If you're used to doing that, it'll create some bizarre sentences, since space actually just selects the suggest word, rather than creating a space. It takes a while to get used to it and we've been using SwiftKey for some time and still struggle. Perhaps it's because we have so many other keyboards in our lives that require the spacebar that it feels so counter-intuitive. Like we said, though, that's our only issue.
If you spend a lot of time emailing and messaging on your Android, then SwiftKey will definitely save you a lot of time. Be warned tablet users, SwiftKey X is smartphone only and Touchtype is currently beavering away at a tablet version for you.
SwiftKey X Beta is currently available for free on Android Market, although the app has a licence expiration date of August 14, 2011. We dare say that after that, you'll have to pay...
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The Bottom Line
A very clever app indeed. Customisation an absolute cinch from Twitter, Facebook and Gmail and you can compose entire sentences while barely pressing the keyboard at all. We're fans.
Version reviewed 188.8.131.52
Requires Android 2.1 or higher
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