Arguably the pinnacle of predictive text entry right now rests with the team behind SwiftKey, makers of one of the most popular alternative Android keyboards ever created and now they’re adding some important new functionality into the mix with SwiftKey Flow.
We were lucky enough to talk with Dr. Ben Medlock, co-founder and CTO of SwiftKey, alongside the company’s head of communications Ruth Barnett, about how the technology and the brand will evolve going forward and it’s all starting with SwiftKey Flow; the new method of text entry for the company’s A.I.-enhanced keyboard. Cue the dubstep:
If you’ve ever used Swype, you’ll immediately be familiar with this form of text entry, which opts for dragging a finger over the keyboard in a continuous motion as opposed to tapping individual letters in the more conventional fashion. SwiftKey Flow uses a similar system, but the enhancements that make SwiftKey what it is are also accessible, like simultaneous word predictions and multi-language switching on-the-fly. Just as you would when typing on a SwiftKey keyboard, word predictions flash up above the keys as you begin to ‘flow’. Its creators say that "the technology is fundamentally different. "
We tried this system out ourselves and first impressions show a lot of promise when the technology makes it to full release. For the moment SwiftKey VIPs will receive early access to a beta build of the service, but no doubt once testing is complete, a large proportion of the 2 million active SwiftKey users already out there will make use of this great new feature.
With regards to the scope of SwiftKey as a company going forward, the text entry products they offer now only appear to be one part of the bigger picture. With a new London office, double the in-house staff in the last six months and partnerships with OEMs wanting a piece of that SwiftKey magic, the company look as if they’ve set course for an interesting path ahead and if their new offices in the US and Korea are anything to go by, they’ve already begun on the next leg of this interesting journey.