SwiftKey X — A More Intelligent Keyboard for Android

by Elmer MontejoMay 30, 2011
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SwiftKey is an intelligent keyboard for your Android device. But, it needs to be taught. With the original SwiftKey, you let it learn your typing habits and allow it to analyze the messages you put into your phone. Once it has learned enough, SwiftKey can make your typing faster by offering you word predictions that spell exactly as you would spell them.

With SwiftKey’s latest beta release for SwiftKey X, you get a more intelligent learner–and a little bit controversial, I might say. Like a good student, the original SwiftKey quietly observes your typing manners on your Android device and learns your typing habits. The more you type, the more material it has to learn.

SwiftKey X screenshots

SwiftKey X takes its learning a step further by expanding its sources of data to analyze. And, here lies the controversial aspect. If you allow it, SwiftKey X can look through your Gmail, Twitter, and Facebook messages–in addition to the SMS text and email messages you send on your phone, that is–and analyze them. This means that SwiftKey X will get more material about your typing habit and, thus, can learn how your fingers work much more deeply than the original SwiftKey can.

For some people, applications asking for access permissions to online accounts can be a privacy and security issue. Many people who have tried the SwiftKey X beta, however, claim that the necessary tradeoff is worth it.

SwiftKey X screenshots

TouchType LTD, which develops SwiftKey, has also thrown in several improvements into SwiftKey X. The first is the so-called Personal Input Modeling improvement to SwiftKey’s Fluency engine. With Personal Input Modeling, SwiftKey X relies on your typing accuracy and accordingly adjusts the touch-sensitivity of keys.

Two new typing styles have also been added to SwiftKey X. Depending on whether you choose Precise or Rapid typing style, SwiftKey X adapts more accurately to the way you type and makes sure that corrections and word predictions are in accordance with your own typing habits. So, if your typing style is rapid, you will have greater tendency for imprecision–and, SwiftKey X compensates for that. On the other hand, if your typing style is precise, your typing speed tends to slow down; again, SwiftKey X compensates for that.

Here are TouchType’s folks explaining the evolution of SwiftKey X:

SwiftKey X is currently optimized for smartphones, although TouchType has promised that a tablet-optimized version is already in the pipeline. Both SwiftKey Keyboard (2-dollar version) and SwiftKey X Beta (free [for now] version) are available on Android Market. Both versions have received 4.5 star ratings.

If you’re currently using the original SwiftKey, try the updated beta version and tell us what you think. You’ll probably find it much better than the stock Android keyboard or another keyboard that you’re using on your smartphone. Either way, share your thoughts.