The feature that gets most users riled up in their smartphones is the quality of the keyboard. Whether if it's a soft virtual keyboard or a hardware QWERTY, it seems to be one of the biggest factors/dividers in buying a smartphone. Obviously no keyboard is perfect for everyone, but there is a new technology called Swype on the way that may change the way we type on our mobile devices.

The video above showcases Swype and what's unique about it is that though all the keys are laid out in the familiar QWERTY format, you don't 'press' multiple letters to form a word, rather you drag your fingers to touch the letters and trust the system to figure out the rest. The video pits a Samsung Omnia II vs an iPhone in a test of 25 words. The Swype system handedly defeats the iPhone but given it's a Swype-created video, it may be a wee bit biased.

Even though Swype looks great, we're not sure if we could ever completely abandon QWERTY keyboards. There will always be a need for them. Swype is planning on porting the technology over to Android in early 2010.

What do you guys think about Swype? What's your favorite keyboard option on Android? G1 keyboard? HTC soft keyboard? Virtual Android keyboard? Let us know in the comments!

[via techcrunch]


Reader comments

New Swype Text Input Looks Promising


I don't really like the idea. You don't have real-time feedback on what you're typing (you have to swype the whole word before you see it).

Personally I use Better Keyboard, but it doesn't have Polish characters, which is a huge issue for me. I have to switch to HTC keyboard everytime I want to type something in Polish. Other than that I <3 Better Keyboard, very responsive.

This isn't really new, the iPhone has had an app called "Shapewriter" that does this exact same thing. Tried it over a year was interesting, but in the end I preferred regular typing.

Went to the Swype site and checked it out. Looks VERY promising I will definitely give it a go (yet another feature on the Omnia II that is tempting me...

ShapeWriter is also available in the Android Market as well. I saw it a week or so ago and tried it out. It is ok but hard for me to get to stop on the right key. Not bad but I dont think i could get away from a normal qwerty keyboard.

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I like the music. Who sings that and what song?

But seriously, I would imagine there is a learning curve involved with the Swype way of typing. I played the video twice but still can't figure out how they got it to type "reasonable" in such a quick fashion. I understand the concept but the "keystrokes" don't seem to match. Will have to view it again (and again).

yeah, after reading your comment I went back and watched the video and just clicked through to find where reasonable popped up and thought "no way, he didnt even get close to the right keys", but somehow he inputs reasonable, and it doesnt pop up til hes almost done typing effort. the word he puts in before effort does look like its being typed right, or at least close. maybe it just takes th program that long to look through all the possibilities of those keystrokes...

Looks like it could be promising, but how does it handle uppercase, numbers, and punctuation?

Looks interesting, I'll definitely give it a go. Personally I think I could still type faster on my old Nokia button phone than on either an iPhone or my Android phone's QWERTY. I use Better Keyboard myself. I do like HTC_IME, it's very fast though I find its' text prediction and long-press annoying.

I just downloaded the shapewriter one, it's HARD. Much harder than it looks, kind of a pain and that guy is way fast because I felt slow and stupid. Cool though.

We obviously can see on this video that one is really use of typing with Swype, and the other is not used at all typing on an iPhone, he even make quite a lot of mistakes, need to delete all and start again, and do not type fast.

Whatever the ad is not done in a fair way, it is always interesting if some different input methodes are tested and developed.

In addition to Swype, there's ShapeWriter and SlideIT. ShapeWriter is available from the Android market.

I think ShapeWriter is probably the original version of this (it comes from IBM research). It also has excellent prediction abilities.