SwiftKey’s easily one of the more popular alternative keyboards around, and there have been plenty of ways to get access to it. You could participate in a public beta, check out the free version of the app, or pony up and pay for the premium edition. And really, considering all it offers, including its powerful word prediction engine, the four bucks that premium version demanded seemed like a small price to pay. But now SwiftKey is taking a page from the “freemium” playbook that’s all the rage these days and is making the SwiftKey Keyboard for Android free to download.
Before you start getting your knickers in a twist over that freemium move (which has ruined more than one app), this one sounds pretty benign: the core keyboard bit is unchanged, and it’s not like the app is about to start nickle-and-diming you for essential features. Instead, we see the arrival of the SwiftKey Store, where users can download new themes for the app – some free, but some for sale.
A little peeved that you just paid for the app and now it’s free for everyone? Well, you won’t go without compensation, as users who already paid for the app will get five dollars’ worth of premium themes for free – a pack of ten new designs.
Along with this shift in pricing structure, we see the arrival of a new version of SwiftKey, bringing a new default theme, optional number row, new language support, and a number of emoji enhancements, including predictive emoji.