One of best third-party Android keyboards, SwiftKey is dropping its price tag in search of more users. Instead, its creators are hoping you’ll buy colourful themes.
If there’s one thing that Android offers more of than other operating system, it’s choice. The choice to change your default keyboard has been a huge strength in the Android camp, and coincidentally, for third-party keyboard-maker, SwiftKey.
The stock Android keyboard has improved immensely in recent years, but it hasn’t done anything original. It looked at the biggest alternatives out there like SwiftKey and borrowed from them. SwiftKey itself is an innovative keyboard and in my opinion one of the best money can (or rather, could) buy. But despite its popularity, it’s shaking things up, ditching the £2.99 price tag altogether and going free for everyone.
The latest update to SwiftKey doesn’t lose anything except its price. Instead the company is focusing on offering up additional themes, which completely change the look of the keyboard, making it more personal and if you chose a theme like mine, more colourful too.
In the new SwiftKey Store, you’ll find two tabs: Themes and Packs. Long-standing users, that is, those who have previously forked out cash to enjoy SwiftKey’s killer keyboard over the past few weeks, months or years will receive the added gift of the ‘Premiere Pack’ (which is comprised of 10 themes) for free, rather than its standard price of £2.99. Most of the other theme packs on there cost £1.99 for five themes and individual themes will set you back 69p a piece. Currently there a 30 themes to choose from.
Going freemium is a bold new step for SwiftKey and comes as part of the company’s desire to reach new users in markets where third-party offerings for existing smartphone features like keyboards, just aren’t as readily adopted. SwiftKey’s CEO, Jon Reynolds said, “We’re focused not only on reaching more users with our powerful technology, but on building great content and features to engage them.”
Alongside extra themes, the default theme ‘Cobalt’ has been replaced by an improved design in ‘Nickel’ a stark white keyboard that works particularly well with stock Android’s aesthetic. Users can also assign a dedicated number row to the top of the keyboard that’ll be permanently visible as well as new language support, better prediction, improvements to SwiftKey Flow and access to 800 Emojis.
What do you think about the update? Are you for freemium apps or would you prefer to pay once and own everything? Leave your thoughts in the comments down below.