SwiftKey Flow brings trace input to leading Android keyboard

SwiftKey has announced a brand new version of its popular keyboard app for Android, dubbed SwiftKey Flow. Launching "soon," SwiftKey Flow will bring continuous input -- similar to what's found in Swype and others -- to SwiftKey, while retaining the personalized prediction tech for which it's is best known.

An evolution of the intelligent prediction software used in SwiftKey 3 powers the flow-based input, meaning it's sensitive to context, as well as individual typing styles. SwiftKey Flow will also allow users to switch between the two input modes on the fly depending on their preference, or how many hands they have free.

Android Central had the chance to demo SwiftKey Flow recently, and we were impressed with the speed and accuracy of its new trace input features. We noticed that the keyboard analyzes the pattern your finger takes in real time, rather than waiting until the pattern is complete, allowing predictions to be built up on the fly. Overall, it's an incredibly speedy typing experience.

The SwiftKey Flow beta test will begin "within weeks" for those registered on SwiftKey's VIP community site, ahead of an eventual launch on Google Play.

Check out the demo video above. We've got today's full press release after the break.

SwiftKey Flow brings gesture input to Android’s best selling keyboard

(Oct 25 2012) London, UK—The team behind Android’s best-selling keyboard today unveils SwiftKey Flow, a new typing approach that combines the mind-reading capabilities of SwiftKey’s engine with the ability to glide your finger across a phone’s screen to type words.

The new app harnesses the unrivalled predictive power of SwiftKey to give a completely new take on continuous input, offering real-time prediction as a user begins to ‘flow’ a word on the keys. This allows the word to be inputted by simply letting go of the screen as soon as the word is predicted, saving valuable time and effort. The user is also able to select relevant next-word predictions based on SwiftKey’s knowledge of their writing habits.

SwiftKey Flow has been engineered to simultaneously support both the traditional multi-touch tapping style as well as gliding. This empowers the user to seamlessly switch between the two modes as they please, ‘flowing’ a quick text if they only have one hand free, or tapping out a longer note with both hands at speed. Add the fact that SwiftKey constantly predicts the next word in a sentence and the user may not even have to tap or flow at all for some words.

A video of SwiftKey Flow in action is available on the SwiftKey blog, and the app’s team plan to start beta testing it with their VIP community within weeks. Anyone wishing to take part is encouraged to sign up at http://vip.swiftkey.net/.

SwiftKey CEO Jon Reynolds said: “We know our users have different tastes and habits - this way they’ll get to choose what style of writing suits them best without compromising the power of the predictions. We’ve been hard at work on SwiftKey Flow over the last year and it’s great to finally be able to give you a sneak peek. I’m confident our users will be blown away once they get their hands on it.”

SwiftKey Flow is the latest innovation from the London-based company, which recently celebrated hitting 10 million downloads of its original SwiftKey app. A No.1 bestselling app on Google Play in 30 countries, SwiftKey is available in 44 languages and counting.

Using cutting-edge artificial intelligence, SwiftKey Flow learns as it is used to build a personalised prediction profile specific to each user. This can be improved by giving the keyboard access to a user’s SMS, email, Facebook and Twitter archives. When writing a text, email or tweet, the profile is used to correct typos in context, predict a word as it is being traced, or suggest the most likely next word in a sentence. SwiftKey correctly predicts 30% of next words before any characters are entered, and 84% of next words are correctly predicted after just two characters. The engine is so powerful, it is capable of predicting in up to three languages at once.

In the last year, SwiftKey won a people’s voice Webby Award for mobile experimentation and innovation, most innovative app at the GSMA awards at Mobile World Congress and also best startup at the Guardian Digital Innovation awards. Its bespoke product for clinicians using touchscreens, SwiftKey Healthcare, recently won the best enterprise Appster at the Apps World conference.

Alex Dobie
Executive Editor

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.