By Joe Levi | August 31, 2012 12:05 PM
As far back as I can remember I’ve had a fascination with Soft Input Panels (SIPs) or Input Method Editors (IMEs) — the user-replaceable, on-screen keyboards that we use on our smartphones and tablets. I remember trying all kinds of different “keyboards” for PocketPC that ranged from regular-looking keyboards, to graffti-like “chicken-scratch” areas, and even a handwriting recognition panel.
Android-powered devices give us the same functionality by letting us simply install and configure an app to replace our stock keyboard. Today we’re looking at SwiftKey 3.
SwiftKey has been around for a while, but it’s the “3″ version that really has us impressed. Yes, it functions like any “normal” keyboard, and doesn’t look any different than most others… until it does.
If you’re using a tablet, you may have noticed that most keyboards aren’t that easy to type on when you’re holding the tablet in your hands. The keys in the middle are too far away for you to easily hit them with your thumbs. SwiftKey 3 has you covered! They split the keyboard when you’re using your tablet in landscape mode so it’s easy to thumb type. Don’t like that? No problem, you can customize it. What’s more, smartphones and tablets in portrait have a traditional key layout.
SwiftKey reads your mind!
The stock Jelly Bean keyboard includes a feature that uses bi-gram matching to predict what you’re going to type next, and offer that word up to you can insert it with a single tap. Bigrams are a relatively complex concept that uses what you’ve just typed to guess at what you’re going to type next. SwiftKey does something very similar. SwiftKey one ups that by letting you pair your Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, and even your blog’s RSS feed to personalize SwiftKey for your style of writing.
SwiftKey saves you time!
It sounds all techno-geekery (and it is), but all this jargon just means it figures out how you write so it can help you speed up your typing. Cool!
Sure, every keyboard says this, but SwiftKey is one of the only SIPs that I’ve seen that shows you how many keystrokes you’ve saved, how many typos were automatically corrected, how many words it predicted for you, how many words it automatically completed, and what your overall efficiency is. It also has a heatmap to show you how accurately you type.
That’s a lot, but to show you how confident the makers of Swiftkey are, each one of those metrics has a built-in “share” feature so you can shout from the rooftops how much you’ve benefited from using SwiftyKey.
SwiftKey is multi-lingual — but not like you’d expect!
Sure, every keyboard has to have different keys for different languages, that’s a no-brainer. SwiftKey does that, too. But SwiftKey does something more… and it’s amazing!
SwiftKey let’s you install various language packs, then extends all of the features and benefits that we’ve talked about across all the languages you’ve installed — without having to change the keyboard to another language!
Pocketnow’s Jaime Rivera had this to say:
“SwiftKey figured out a way to predict the text of three languages at a time… I don’t know how SwiftKey pulled it off for seamless text prediction, but it’s worth every penny.”
It’s true, I did my best to type three sentences in three different languages (which isn’t an easy task while on camera!), SwiftKey did remarkably well.
Want to see all this in action and see me fumble around trying to type in two other languages? Want to see one other really cool feature that I haven’t mentioned here? Watch the video!