By Stephen Schenck | December 21, 2011 4:56 PM
Swype is one of the most popular alternative keyboards around, and we totally understand why. Its basic slide-don’t-tap mechanic has been the stuff of imitation, with companies like HTC trying to capture a little of that Swype magic. Now Swype is testing the waters to see how else it might help its users enter text on their phones, introducing a new beta release for Android with voice-to-text technology from Dragon Dictation.
Dragon Dictation isn’t meant to replace the Swype keyboard, but to be used in combination with it. Maybe you find the keyboard faster to use, but sometimes prefer the convenience of voice-to-text; including Dragon Dictation technology is supposed to make that mode as impressive as Swype is for keyboard input. Currently, English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish are supported, with more languages to follow.
Speaking of languages, you can now download additional language packs from directly within Swype (for keyboard use, not dictation). There are also improvements to Swype’s understanding of sentence construction, with a new modeling algorithm that should lead to more useful suggestions when predicting what you’re trying to type. In addition to the pre-configured rules, it tries to learn from your writing habits and grow more accurate with time. Like the dictation support, this feature is langauge-limited, again with English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish supported out-of-the-gate.
Thanks to the recent changes to Swype’s beta updating procedure, testers should see a notification for this new release appear within the next day or so.