We're a tad behind on this, but better late than never: If you're a fan of the Shapewriter keyboard, it's being pulled from the Android Market on June 20 -- that's tomorrow. Here's the notice from Shapewwriter:

Please note: We plan to take ShapeWriter off the Android Market on
June 20, 2010 for an indefinite period of time, If you have purchased
or downloaded ShapeWriter Keyboard on your Android device, please
update it to the latest Version 3.0.9 which will not expire as the
previous versions do. We thank you for your interest and support.

Looks like this is all part of Shapewriter being acquired by Nuance, which should be another name you know, namely for its Dragon line of software. We've reached out for more information and will update if and when we know more. [Shapewriter via Android Central Forums]


Reader comments

Shapewriter being pulled from Market; get it while you still can


So will shapewriter ever come back? Will it just cost money later? Can I somehow download an .apk and back it up incase I ever do something to my phone?

I REALLY love this keyboard. It kind of makes android.

Both AndroZip and ASTRO FileManager "should" be able to back it up, but neither do. AndroZip cant even see it and ASTRO File Manager does see it, but it's marked private and wont allow you to make the backup to SD.

Too bad really. If you ever wipe your phone your SOL.

You must have Superuser / root permissions in order to access the /data/app-private directory, which is the location of Shapewriter and other private APKs.

If you have root, then you can use Terminal Emulator, or ConnectBot in local mode, to access a console. Once there, simply enter the following commands at the $ prompt:


This may bring up the Superuser dialog window asking you to Allow access, once accepted, the prompt will change from $ to #.

cat /data/app-private/ > /sdcard/

Long, single line command that performs the actual backup. You may want to move it to /sdcard/backups/apps. That seems to be the folder where ASTRO and EStrongs File Explorer (and probably others) save APK backups.

I hope this isn't against any site rules. If so, please feel free to delete my comment or notify me and I'll remove it. Thanks.

Sbarron, swype is very similar to shapewriter. having tried both on the same day, you can tell that there are a few differences. I like shape writers predictive text and easy ability to add words to the dictionary. But I ALSO like the cursor pad in swype. It's a matter of preference as to which one is "better". I will say that I use swype more than my other keyboards.

Why is it going off the market?

Weird. I have both Shapewriter and Swype... Both have their pros and cons, but I like Swype a tiny tiny bit more.

So does his mean the version I have on my phone right now will be gone tomorrow?? Of if I have it already will it remain ?? I like this keyboard much better than swype

No, that does not give one access to using voice recog in a field that the keyboard is pointed at, such as a text message, etc.

Actually, you are right... it was just that simple! Unrevoked worked perfectly, and the Titanium Backup program is very impressive. Thanks

I was very skeptical about this drawing type of keyboard stuff. But several days ago I downloaded and tried it and..... it is amazing! Google needs to license this stuff as a standard part of Android, it is just that good.

There are only two problems with Shapewriter, and the first is really bad:

1) There is no voice recognition key. This means you have to go through lots of effort to switch back to the standard keyboard to get to it, then go through lots of effort to switch back to the swipe keyboard again. It is a HUGE oversight.

2) The number keypad is upside-down, like a phone pad. Annoying for people who actually know how to use a real keypad. There is no option to change it.

These same problems occur with Swype. Oddly enough though, the default HTC keyboard is even worse. There's no attempt to emulate the "pad" look at all. All of the numbers are just in a row.

I'd been using Swype on my Nexus One on Android v2.2 pre-release (FRF50) since late May. I flashed a later version (FRF85b) and re-registered Swype. The next day another version of 2.2 came out - FRF91 - and I wiped my phone and flashed that. At this point, Swype refused to fully register itself on my phone, saying it was registered to another device. I've sent Swype an email about that, explaining it's the same phone, but have not had a reply.

I had bought ShapeWriter a while ago and went to install that. It was gone. I emailed them, explaining I had bought it and now couldn't find it in the Market. They responded within 24 hours by sending me the file and explaining I should keep it safe as there would be no further versions of ShapeWriter for now due to the purchase by Nuance. Nuance going to relaunch the product? or they just buy it to kill off a possible competitor for a product of their own? Time will tell.

But ShapeWriter itself is pretty're trying to enter a mixed-case password with numbers. Maybe I should do the tutorial again, but entering most of my passwords is almost impossible under ShapeWriter as it messes with the case and it can take ages to enter a password.

But until Swype works out how to handle people like me who flash a new ROM on their phone every few weeks, I will be using ShaeWriter.

I saved that link and used it on my upgrades but now that link doesn't work. Would you know where else to get the non free trial?