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Swype Beta 1.3 released, brings dictionary backup, 'hotwords' and more

The latest beta of the Swype keyboard is out, and available to download from the Swype Beta website. The popular third-party keyboard from Nuance Communications packs a number of new updates. Dictionary backup & sync: Users’ personal dictionaries and word additions can be synced across...
Android Central

Major Swype beta update released with syncable dictionary, personalized prediction

Swype developer Nuance has announced -- and released -- a major update to the beta version of the popular Android keyboard. The new Swype beta, which is available to download now from the official site, adds in several new abilities designed to make word prediction more accurate. Among these is a...
Swype ICS

Swype promises it's almost ready for Ice Cream Sandwich

Here's one of those good news/bad news things, which we're going to tell in reverse. The bad news is that Swype, the uber-popular third-party keyboard that lets you trace your finger from letter to letter instead of pecking, still isn't ready for Ice Cream Sandwich devices, never mind that they've...

Swype keyboard for Android - Photos

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

We know the Swype keyboard is pretty awesome. But try this on for size: Hank Torres, who is paralyzed from the shoulders down, set a world record with Swype and a head tracking device at the Assistive Technology Industry Association Conference in Orlando. The sentence he cranked out in 83.09 seconds?

“The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human.”

Pretty damned impressive, that's for sure. Be sure to watch the video above, and the full presser's after the break.

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What a year it's been, eh? Think back. We started with the announcement of the Nexus One and Android 2.1, and we're closing out the year with the announcement of Android 2.3 Gingerbread and the prospects of dual-core processors and Honeycomb on the horizon.

But let's take a few moments to look back on 2010 -- namely, your favorite stories of the year. What follows are our top reviews and top stories of the year, as trafficked by you guys. And it's a pretty good list if we do say so ourselves. Check it out after the break.

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You read that right, folks. For those of you waiting to officially get in on the Swype keyboard, you'll wait no longer. The beta program has opened up to anyone able to type in a little user information. That means you can be up and running the official version of Swype in just a couple of minutes -- including the new and improved "micro" version -- without worry of being hassled by the man. Hit up the source link to get your Swype on. [Swype] Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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We know how sensitive some of you are regarding app size. It's OK. It's nothing to be ashamed of, and you're not alone. And the fine folks at Swype fully sympathize and are now offering a "micro" version of the Swype keyboard. It's fully functional, just with fewer languages supported, so you get a 2.5MB install instead of a 10MB install. To get the micro version, just open the Swype Installer on your phone and accept the update.

Also, Swype has (finally) offered some help to you Evo 4G users who had problems this week. See, the 3.70.651.1 OS update that dropped this week included the Swype keyboard. So if you already were running the beta, things quickly stopped working. As many of you figured out, you need to uninstall the beta, then reboot, and all should be well. [Swype forums]

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HTC has confirmed to us that a maintenance update (3.70.651.1) is being pushed out to the Sprint Evo 4G as we type. No, it's not Gingerbread. Gonna have to wait a while for that, folks. Instead, it looks like we're getting:

  • Blockbuster (including WM DRM 10)
  • Kindle eReader
  • Preloaded try/buy video game: NOVA from Gameloft
  • Sprint Zone update
  • Latest Telenav
  • Latest VVM App
  • Latest Sprint TV app
  • SWYPE Keyboard
  • Scan Now Widget for 4G (does not need to be available on any panel, just a widget option users could find and use).

If you don't want to wait for the update to push to your phone, we've got manual installation instructions after the break. (Note that it's worked for some people; I've had problems with my old Google IO freebie Evo.) More on the update in our Evo 4G forums.

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Judging from all the e-mails we just got -- including one from Swype that says we were accepted into the beta program -- it looks like a new round of Swype invites has gone out. Trust us, folks, it's a much better track to be on than having to deal with the hacked (and pirated) versions out there. So congrats, everyone! [via Android Central Forums]

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If you're rocking the "beta" version of Swype (we put beta in quotes because if it didn't come preloaded on your phone, it's the only version you're legally supposed to be using -- nudge nudge, wink know, know what I mean?), note that it just got and update, and it's one you need to pay attention to. Here's the full changelog:

INSTALLER v.1.1.14896

  • Revised installer workflow. Users can now enable Swype and select it as the default input method from within the Swype installer.

  • The installer now includes a repair feature. If a previous installation failed, or if the existing Swype BETA installation is broken (missing/corrupt license, etc), the installer will attempt to resume the installation process and repair any broken elements.

  • Clarified error messages to give a more accurate description of the specific problem encountered.

  • Added links to the tutorial and tips-and-tricks videos to the end of the installation.

SWYPE BETA v2.15.56.14870

  • Added support for new installer features, such as version checking and installation repair.

  • Merged the most recent changes from trunk (mostly device-specific bugfixes)

Of particular interest to us is the second bullet point. If a previous installation failed (and guess who had that problem) ... That's right, it crashed and burned for me but is up and running now. Oh, happy day.

Again, this is for everybody running the official beta. If your phone came pre-loaded with Swype -- and that's damn near every phone released in the last six months or so -- satay away. For everybody else, head to http://beta.swype.com/android/get and get your download on. [Swype]

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For those of you rocking the Swype beta -- ie it did NOT come presinstalled on your phone -- it just got a pretty sizable update. Here's the full changelog:

  • Resolved an accuracy issue that was introduced in the last Beta update. New software features supporting additional languages were included in the beta before the test plan for those features was complete (it is a beta after all). Subsequent testing identified the accuracy issue and corrections made. These new tests have been incorporated into our regression testing to prevent future accuracy issues.
  • Added Double-Tap-to-Edit and Cursor Restore
  • Added microphone button (QWERTY only. Requires Google Voice Search be pre-integrated in your phone’s ROM)
  • Added French & EXPERIMENTAL Chinese Pinyin languages
  • Modified new word priority defaults. The word-choice-window will now be ordered more intelligently when encountering custom dictionary words
  • Fixed a bug where an extra space would be added when replacing a word by Swyping after opening the word choice window
  • Improved the "Hidden-Word" dialog handling so it doesn't show up as often (more improvements to this next time)
  • Improved prediction when handling various path collisions
  • Lots of minor bug fixes

The tl;dr version:  Better, faster, with voice-to-text, finally. Now only if Swype would put this in the market. For those of you already in the beta, head to beta.swype.com/android/get to update your installer. For everybody else, well ... [Swype] Thanks, Sean!

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If you're rocking the Swype keyboard -- the beta version, not the one that's preinstalled on newer phones -- you likely just got an e-mail telling you it's time to update. Couple of reasons for that: One is that the current beta will expire in a couple of days, and the other is a slew of bugfixes. The full changelog is as follows:

  • Added German and Portuguese languages
  • Added the auto-space suppression short-cut gesture: Swype from the spacebar to backspace
  • Added the quick language switch short-cut gesture: Swype from the Swype Key to the Q key
  • Improved the word prediction algorithm to provide better support for additional languages
  • Improved handling of several gesture collisions, including want/wasn't, to/too and others
  • The Android IME no longer sometimes hangs/crashes when Swype scrapes the user's address book for dictionary entries
  • Tips and help menus now accessible when a password field is active
  • Backspace now works in applications which use raw key input instead of an editable text field (e.g. terminal emulator)
  • The single character "i" is no longer incorrectly auto-capitalized in non-English languages (reported by many of you!)
  • Tons of other minor bug-fixes, including many device-specific issues

Be sure to completely uninstall the keyboard and Swype installer files before installing the new ones. You can download the new version for your phone here (from your phone's browser), read the FAQ here, and get detailed installation instructions here.

So that there's no confusion: If Swype came pre-installed on your phone, stay away from this update. If you registered for the beta on Swype's website, and that's where you initially got Swype, you're good to go.

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T-Mobile has finally pulled the curtain out from over the HTC G2, the follow-up to the smartphone that marked the launch of Android. The G2 also is TMo's first HSPA+ smartphone (it's debatedly called a "4G" phone).

Spec-wise, we're looking at a 3.7-inch touchscreen a full QWERTY keyboard. It's powered by a Qualcomm MSM 7230 "Snapdragon" processor at 800MHz. There's a 5-megapixel camera with full 720p video recording, the obvious four-row keyboard with a trio of customizable keys.

The G2 will launch with Android 2.2 and have seven customizable home screens, including one dedicated to apps. Preloaded software includes the new Google Search Voice Actions, the new Google Voice app (that we've already seen from the leaked G2 ROM), Swype, Google Earth, Google Voice, Google Maps, YouTube, Google Talk and Adobe FlashPlayer. To store all those apps, the G2 comes with 4GB of internal memory and an 8GB microSD card (expandable to 32GB).

T-Mobile has yet to announce pricing (we've heard $199) and availability (Sept. 29 has been rumored), though pre-orders will begin "later this month." You can sign up at http://g2.t-mobile.com for updates. Check out the full press release after the break, and be sure to swing by our T-Mobile G2 fourms.

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Motoblur is alive an well in Motorola's latest European offering, the Defy. The phone is shipping with Android 2.1 ("Eclair"), which isn't quite yet inexcusable, but we're getting close. But, those looking to use their phone in places where it might be exposed to the elements should take a second look at the device, as Moto is saying it is "virtually lifeproof". The phone has a 3.7-inch Gorilla Glass touch screen that is dust, scratch, and even water resistant. It can even take being under a full meter (thats about a yard, folks) of water for up to 30 minutes. To round out the feature list, the phone will come with a 800MHz OMAP 3610 processor and Swype preinstalled. Look for it across Europe in Q4 2010. [Motorola via Engadget]

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Mellisa Thompson, of Salford, England, has broken the Guinness World Record for the fastest texter, using Swype on a Samsung Galaxy S with a time of 25.94 seconds.  The previous record of 35.54 seconds, held by Franklin Page of the U.S. was also set using a Samsung phone (the Omnia II) using Swype.  We're glad to see this one come to Android :)

For all the aspiring record breakers out there, the "official" text used is:

"The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human."

Punctuation and capitalization counts, so none of that ez txt spk.  Unfortunately, Swype is still in closed beta, so we can't help you there.  If you have what it takes, fire up the camera and send in a video -- we'll see that it gets to the right place if you can beat the record!  [Google News]

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New York Times columnist extraordinaire David Pogue's given the Droid X for a spin, and in turn he's spun-off a bit about the phone's keyboards. It has a multitouch keyboard by default -- I can take it or leave it. But the X also has Swype. You've seen our interview and demo with the Swype folks back at CTIA, and good many of you got in on the latest beta round (which has since closed).

As for Pogue, he's not completely convinced Swype is the second coming of on-screen keyboards, though he does write that "there's a lot of brilliance in Swype." And his gripes are completely reasonable (lack of open availability, swiping from one end of the keyboard to another for short words). And that's cool. One user's perfect keyboard is another's speed bump. (For what it's worth, I'm on board now, though it took a little while.) Give his column a read and see if you agree. [NYT]

What about you guys? Who all's come over to the Swype way of life?

Are you a Swype convert?survey software

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There's a Reuters story going 'round today in which Swype CEO Mike McSherry (hey, Mike!) expects his keyboard -- which we're big fans of, by the way -- to be on 50 phones by year's end. It's currently on 10 (including the just-announced Motorola Droid X), so there's a bit of catching up to do, but no reason it can't be done. And we've love to see it happen.

That said (and we're just having a little fun here) one phone you won't see it on is the one above. That's right, Swype will not be on a Windows Mobile-powered Motorola Droid X. Photoshop blunder or not, we can think of a few people who would love to see this happen, though. And knowing the enterprising Android developers out there, it just might. And if you haven't tried Swype yet, you should. Get it at beta.swype.com. Thanks, Justin!

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An early version of the Samsung Captivate -- the version of the Galaxy S that's coming to AT&T -- has made its way into a New York City Starbucks, and Engadget give the phone a quick go.

The body is obviously a little different than the Galaxy S that we've had our hands on (a couple times now, actually), but the 4-inch Super AMOLED display certainly looks vibrant here. Again, we've used Super AMOLED, and it's really something you're going to have to see for yourself.

TouchWiz 3.0's on board, just as we've seen before, and Swype was pre-loaded, which is good, since AT&T's had a habit of disallowing applications from outside the Android Market, which means you can't easily get Swype on the side.

We expect the Captivate to be a pretty speedy device, but Engadget didn't have the best results, with the demo phone showing an 800MHz processor instead of the 1GHz model we're told will be on the phone. Again, it's an early piece of hardware, they say, so take it all with a grain of salt.

Need more? Check out video after the break, hit up the source link, and get ready for Samsung's big event next week in New York. [Engadget]

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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]

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Good news for those of you waiting patiently to get into the Swype keyboard beta program. Not only has the keyboard just gotten an update, they've opened the beta for a limited time. Says Swype:

  • It will be open for a limited time - probably a few days
  • In English, Spanish, and Italian - more languages to come
  • Limited Features - some key features of Swype require OEM integration
  • HVGA and WVGA Resolutions - don't worry we'll detect this automatically
  • Limited End User Support - mostly via our forum

If you recently got a notice that your previous Swype keyboard was expiring, you'll want to log in to get the new version. [Swype]

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Swype has certainly gained a lot of hype from many users, and a while back they rolled out a beta program to select number of people. Today members of this beta received an e-mail stating there was an upgrade available, along with what this upgrade entailed. From what we can see this update includes:

  • Added better context sensitivity for the “magic button” (go/search/enter/smiley)
  • Added automatic apostrophe insertion for contractions (e.g. won't, don't, wasn't, etc)
  • Added the Italian language dictionary
  • Improved sensing of field type to prevent the display and addition of passwords to the UDB (user dictionary)
  • Improved suppression of auto-spacing in fields such as URLs and email addresses
  • Updated the built-in dictionary to include several common words that were previously missing
  • Rewrote some settings descriptions to be more clear on their functionality
  • Fixed licensing issue causing “Limited Functionality” errors when rebooting devices running Android 2.0 and later
  • Fixed licensing issue causing some users to receive an “Incorrect ID” error when installing Swype
  • Fixed a bug where manually typing some words with word-prediction enabled would cause Swype to crash
  • Fixed a bug which caused some words added to the UDB to erroneously override other words when word-prediction is enabled
  • Many other minor bug fixes!

For all of you who are part of the beta program, be sure to install the latest update, and let us know how it works out for you!

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Swype - your favorite finger sliding keyboard is diving head-first into the mainstream phone market. The small company, which only employs 27 people, estimates it will be on over 10 million smartphones by the end of this year. Chances are you’ll be seeing Swype on some future handsets from any of the four major US cell providers -- so those “hunting and pecking” days just might be over.  

Phones aren’t the only thing that Swype can be applied to; the company has big plans to integrate its software into some of the upcoming Android tablets, and a 12-inch Swype keyboard is enough to impress almost anyone.  Even with all this expanding and growth, Swype has expressed no interest in a partnership with Apple -- which is A-OK with us Android users.  If you're new to Swype, head on over to our Keyboard Roundup and see if it's right for you!

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So you think you can Swype? Many of you remember the video of Swype on the Samsung Omnia II where the Guinness World Record for fastest text was broken, and this seems to have sparked some inspiration amongst many. There are quite a few videos, where many come close to breaking this record themselves, only to miss by a few seconds, or a minor spelling error to get in the way. One of the most impressive videos, is this speed deamon typing this rather intricate phrase on his Motorola Droid, and completing it 4 seconds faster then the previous record. Think you got what it takes to beat this record? We would love to see it, as would Samsung on their YouTube page, so be sure to check out the details of this contest here. For those unsure, the phrase for this contest is:

The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human.

Be sure to check out this sweet video after the jump.

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