SwiftKey 4 brings SwiftKey Flow to all: Available now
The latest version of the chart-topping SwiftKey keyboard is now available on Google Play. Known simply as SwiftKey 4, the headline addition is SwiftKey Flow, a gesture-based text entry system.
It's no secret that SwiftKey is one of our favourite keyboards: it improves just about any Android device you put it on, and although other keyboards - including the latest stock Android 4.1 Jelly Bean keyboard - are good, SwiftKey is where we turn in times of keyboard.
We're not alone in our praise of SwiftKey, as the smart keyboard has been the top paid app in 38 countries on Google Play for as long as we care to remember.
We've been using the SwiftKey Flow beta since it was announced in December 2012 and found that it adds a significant dimension to SwiftKey's already impressive arsenal.
SwiftKey Flow lets you trace out words across the keyboard rather than having to tap the letters. Although SwiftKey's predictive language engine will often determine what you're saying as you type, adding Flow brings a new element of speed to the keyboard.
The features you associate with SwiftKey are all still there, however, so you get the smart corrections and predictions as you type, but the integration of trace entry is what elevates SwiftKey 4 above contemporary rivals.
The reason for this is simple: you don't feel like you are losing any of the tap features because you choose to swipe, and you can happily switch betwixt the two as needed.
In Flow you also get the option to swipe through space, so you don't have to take your finger off the screen, you just keep moving it via the space bar and you get your space.
Talking to Joe Braidwood, chief marketing officer at SwiftKey, it was clear that the inclusion of the SwiftKey Flow feature isn't all that SwiftKey 4 has on offer.
There have been improvements of the keyboard as a whole. The old option of choosing between "precise" or "rapid" entry is now gone, with the keyboard dynamically recognising that people use a combination of both and adapting as you type.
There's also support for multiple languages in Smart Space - which recognises when you've missed a space between words - so if you happen to drop a French word into your English sentence, then SwiftKey 4 will recognise the language and separate the words, which is tres bon indeed.
Additionally, SwiftKey 4 will allocate more memory to remembering the sorts of things you say. The idea is to keep your repertoire fresh and, rather than dumping some of the obscure expressions you might have used, it will keep more of them so they can be better recalled on the odd occasion you might need them.
The best news is that SwiftKey 4 will roll out as an upgrade to existing owners. Part of the new, cleaner, installer and set-up process, you'll be prompted to remove old versions, including the beta. If you've been on the Flow beta you won't be prompted to upgrade, so head to Google Play for the latest app.
If you're a newcomer to SwiftKey then there's great news. There's a special price of £1.49 on the new app, normally £2.99. We're told it won't last forever, so head over to Google Play to grab a bargain.