Thursday, February 22, 2018

Swype Keyboard Discontinued


Nuance will no longer be offering the Swype keyboard on iOS app store. We’re sorry to leave the direct-to-consumer keyboard business, but this change is necessary to allow us to concentrate on developing our AI solutions for sale directly to businesses.

Ron Amadeo:

While Swype has a patent for “System and method for continuous stroke word-based text input,” for whatever reason that wasn’t enough to stop everyone on Earth from copying Swype’s gesture typing. Google made gesture typing a standard feature in Android’s default keyboard, and Microsoft did the same for Windows Phone 8.1(back when that was a thing). Third-party keyboards on iOS and Android have taken the idea, too, and today you can “swype” on Swiftkey, GoKeyboard, TouchPal, Ai-type, and a million other options.

By the time Swype finally launched in the Play Store, all the copycats had greatly limited the appeal of Swype’s 99 cent app. Swype’s ultra-slow rollout and OEM deals meant it never got a head start on creating a large user base, and, by the time it was finally for sale, it was too little, too late. Now it’s dead.

Previously: iOS 8 Keyboards.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

First time I used Swype was on an old T-Mobile Comet. Apparently an OEM license deal by Huawei (as noted, that's the way Swype got installed in those days) and it worked great. Then it stopped receiving updates or maybe it was updated and became slow, hard to remember, so I bought the app store version that was then available.

Even after purchasing the app, I didn't stick with Swype 100% of the time. Off and on for the last 4/5 years was a pretty good run all things considered. I don't always swipe my finger to type these days, instead preferring to mix it up depending on device/app/etc. However, I sure as heck notice when the capability is missing on a stock keyboard (iOS and Fire OS....I have my eye on you).

As such, I will miss what Swype represented more than what it is now as a product. It was a first in class alternative keyboard that truly made typing on touch screens bearable, especially smaller (sub 4") screens. As such, name recognition for me still remains strong, even as the product has been sunsetted. Look, I get it, most users likely don't know Swype, the product, from swipe, the gesture. Still, we all benefit from the capability and I remain grateful. can see how seldom I use my Fire devices because gesture typing was added to Fire OS back in December 2012. To be sure, I just double checked the Fire HD 8 tablets I bought last year. Yep, definitely works....

So maybe it's just iOS that doesn't have it out of the box? And possibly some Android ROMs, because enabling AOSP keyboard gesture typing can be weird depending on version of Android and whether a library is present.

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