SwiftKey 4.3

New 'thumb,' 'compact' and undocked modes make it easier to type on larger screens

The team behind popular third-party keyboard SwiftKey has announced a new version of the app today — SwiftKey 4.3. Dubbed "layouts for living," the new version of SwiftKey introduces a host of new layout options designed to make it easier to type on all kinds of Android devices, from smartphones to tablets and everything in between.

There are three main layout modes to choose from in SwiftKey 4.3, all accessible by pressing long-pressing the SwiftKey menu button. "Full" is the regular SwiftKey layout existing users will already be familiar with. "Compact" gives you a smaller keyboard aligned to the left or right side, depending on which hand you want to use. And "thumb" mode gives you a split keyboard for easier two-handed thumb-typing, best suited for tablet users.

More after the break.

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There's another layer of customization through the size and docking controls, with five sizes to choose from, and the ability to undock the keyboard and move it around the screen. The undocked keyboard remembers which mode it's in, allowing you to have a floating compact or thumb-friendly layout if you want. When used with the full-sized keyboard, the resizing options control give you control over the height of your keys.

We've been playing with SwiftKey 4.3 for the past few days, and we've found the new layouts to be really useful when typing on larger phones and tablets. In particular, oversized phones like the Galaxy Note 3 and HTC One Max are an ideal fit for compact mode, and the keyboard size controls allow users to tailor the keyboard to their own thumb's reach.

SwiftKey 4.3 launches today in public beta, and from now on there's just a single app for all devices download, unifying the smartphone and tablet branches of the app. Check below for our hands-on video, along with the all-important download link.

The public beta is available from beta.swiftkey.net