Swiftkey, the uber popular keyboard replacement app, today received a consistent update to version 4.3 beta that unifies the phone and tablet versions into one flexible app.
The main new feature of the unified app is the ability to resize, move, and even split the keyboard layout to suit your device and typing preferences.
The new app features three modes, poetically called Layouts for Living:
- If you need to type fast in landscape mode, you can use the Thumb mode, which splits the keys into two groups that you can use with just your thumbs.
- For fans of more traditional layouts, there’s the Compact mode, which is a narrow layout designed for one-thumb typing on large phones or on tablets.
- The Full mode offers left-right cursor keys for moving through text, as well as a large backspace key located on the top key row, mimicking the experience of typing on a physical keyboard.
Besides the three modes, Swiftkey 4.3 beta brings the ability to resize and move the keyboard anywhere on the screen. With the newfound flexibility conferred by Layouts for Living, there’s no point in having two distinct versions of Swiftkey, which is great news if you own multiple devices. Swiftkey’s recently launched Cloud feature should also come in handy in this case, offering back up and synchronization of customizations and settings across devices.
If you’re interested in the new Swiftkey 4.3 beta, you can get it from Swiftkey’s website as an .apk file. If you want to see it first, check out the quick video we put together below with the press release below that.
With ‘Layouts for Living’, SwiftKey Liberates Your Android Typing Experience
New custom keyboard layouts adapt to any situation
San Francisco, CA, October 17, 2013 – SwiftKey, the leading Android keyboard app, today announced public beta access to its latest version, dubbed ‘Layouts for Living’. The SwiftKey 4.3 update provides users with new keyboard layouts that can be resized and moved anywhere on a device, empowering people to type however they want to, regardless of screen size.
Through extensive user experience (UX) testing and feedback, SwiftKey recognized that an increasing lack of distinction between the phone and tablet form factor means users are demanding more flexibility when they type. For example, commuters in cramped trains may want to type one-handed with their left thumb, while a professional writing a document on a tablet may want to type with both thumbs. SwiftKey’s latest update aims to adapt to everyday situations such as these as well as any number of others – it’s up to each user. With Layouts for Living, SwiftKey liberates users with a huge variety of layouts.
“Allowing people to manipulate the location, size and layout of the keyboard not only makes it easier to type – it gives our users a more personalized way to interact with their technology and each other,” said co-founder and CTO Ben Medlock. “We are committed to creating world-class user experiences that marry our powerful language technology with interfaces that learn and adapt to each user’s needs.”
In addition to being able to size and place the keyboard anywhere on the device,version 4.3 of SwiftKey also includes three preset keyboard modes:
Compact: On many larger phones it can be difficult to enter text and hold the phone with just one hand. This new feature minimizes the width of the keyboard and allows for easier typing with one-hand or gesture typing using SwiftKey Flow. It also frees up more of the screen estate on tablets.
Full: Users with large screens can now opt for a full-width keyboard with left-right cursor control keys and a backspace key above the “Enter” key. By placing the keys closer together, this new layout mimics the experience of two-handed typing on a physical keyboard.
Thumb: For people typing on tablets in landscape and with wide phones in portrait the keyboard can be split into two sections, enabling fast, comfortable typing with both thumbs.
As devices of varying sizes continue to enter the market and the line between tablets and phones blur, a consistent SwiftKey experience is an ongoing priority for our fans. Listening to fan feedback, SwiftKey has merged the phone and tablet apps to eliminate guesswork as to which version of the app a user should purchase.
With SwiftKey Layouts for Living, current and future customers can use one unified SwiftKey app across all Android devices. Leveraging SwiftKey Cloud, which was introduced in SwiftKey 4.2, the app also creates a cloud-based hub for each user’s personal language profile to be shared with any phone or device. SwiftKey Layouts for Living offers a beautiful user experience for all users, across all of their devices no matter the screen size.
The SwiftKey Layouts for Living beta is available to the public now and can be downloaded at http://beta.swiftkey.net.