It may not have the influence it once did, but Swype's new update brings it back into focus.

In the early days of Android, Swype was basically unparalleled when it came to gesture keyboards. It was fast, reliable and intelligent. But its dominance was slowly eroded by competitors like SwiftKey and Google's own first-party Google Keyboard, which is now known as Gboard, and the company behind the app, Nuance, slowed its development to a crawl.

The app has come out of hibernation for now with version 3.0, offering a number of new features, some improvements to the text engine, and emoji predictions, which seems to be table stakes for an Android keyboard these days.

There's also an optional number row available for people who don't want to switch to a secondary panel, along with support for the following:

  • Handwriting Improvements
  • Chinese Handwriting Multiple Character Recognition
  • Uyghur keyboard
  • Kashmiri Devanagari predictive language database
  • Russian KDB for Russian and Kirghyz languages
  • Improvements to Thai, Lao, Khmer

The trial version offers a full experience for 30 days, after which it forces you to buy the full version, on sale for $0.99 — a great deal for a very good keyboard. It's still not as good as Gboard, nor as versatile as SwiftKey, but it's close — and for someone who exclusively uses gesture typing over pecking at the screen, it could very well be preferred.

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