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Cellphones Input Devices Portables Technology

Swype Beta For Android Is Open, Temporarily 104

FyreWyr writes "In 2008 we discussed Swype, which allows a mobile (phone, e.g.) user to draw a path over a virtual keyboard to enter words, rather than requiring precise tapping to accomplish the input. Using this software, a Swype intern (Franklin Page) beat the Guinness record by about 6 WPM for the Guinness-standard phrase: The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human. (Unfortunately the video at that link is marked private.) TechCrunch reports that Swype is presently in open beta, and will be available for 'a couple of days,' supporting English, Spanish, and Italian entry. Finally, while the deadline has apparently passed, I was able to retrieve the Android beta for testing a few minutes ago. I'm posting it here for the benefit of Android-enabled Slashdot readers."
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Swype Beta For Android Is Open, Temporarily

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  • by Asmor ( 775910 ) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @05:47PM (#32634972) Homepage

    My girlfriend and I recently got new phones, and I wanted to go Android but got an HTC HD2 (running Windows Mobile) with the intention of returning it within the 14 days allowed, because the phone I wanted was coming out a week later...

    Anyways, long story short, I stuck with the HD2 in very large part because I was so enamored with Swype, and was distraught that Swype wasn't available for Android.

    It's not perfect, of course, but I enjoy it. In particular, it can be a bit fiddly with smaller words (e.g. me, of, to), but once you get a rhythm going it is, dare I say it, actually fun. It's like every text message is a little game.

    It's also very intuitive and you pick it up very quickly. If you've got an Android, definitely give this a look.

  • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @06:13PM (#32635134)
    Also, if I want to convey

    The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human.

    to someone using my phone, I can like totally call them, and it only takes about 6 seconds to say, while I'm guessing "kthxby" doesn't gain a lot of speed from being "swyped".

    Meanwhile, a pox on Yet Another Stupid Internet Word like "swype".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 20, 2010 @06:27PM (#32635218)

    Here's someone doing it in 34.9 seconds [] on a Nexus One...

  • shapewriter (Score:4, Interesting)

    by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @06:32PM (#32635248)

    For the moment, I am extremely impressed with Shapewriter. And for a few days more, you can get that for free with no expiration and it is not a beta. So I don't see a need for Swype right now: []

  • Dasher (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @06:45PM (#32635334) Homepage Journal

    A "sweeping" mobile input method always reminds me of Dasher. I guess one reason why it doesn't get all the attention is that it must be tuned to a particular corpus of text, so it's not immediately usable like something qwerty-based. []

  • Re:Dasher (Score:2, Interesting)

    by numb7rs ( 1689018 ) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @07:12PM (#32635520)
    I used to use Dasher on my old iPAQ from 2004. For the first couple of weeks, it was only slightly better than the OSK. Then as its dictionary of my words (and my practice) grew, I could eventually use it at speeds rivalling a QWERTY keyboard, probably after a couple of months or so.

    It also looked awesome while you 'typed'. Like some sort of bizarre arcade game.
  • by adolf ( 21054 ) <> on Sunday June 20, 2010 @07:12PM (#32635530) Journal

    I've been running Swype for months on my Motorola Droid. It works great, and it was not at all difficult to locate it using Google. AFAICT, it's been running on most or all Android phones for quite awhile (though mostly with questionable legality).

    That said, it's great that the beta is open -- this way, I get to legally use Swype. Hopefully, some day, they'll actually let me pay for it -- I'd love to give these guys a few bucks.

  • Privacy? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by solevita ( 967690 ) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @08:20PM (#32635922)
    Presumably this is going to phone home and report usage stats from my usual mix of sexting and work emails? Android has already warned me of this on installation. I'll give it a go, but not for anything I wouldn't want made public.
  • by zizzybaloobah ( 1021731 ) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @10:24PM (#32636514)
    Swype's marketing plan is to *only* distribute Swype via phone manufacturers, *not* through channels like Android's Market. Reasons given included being a small company, limited ability to provide end-user support, yada yada yada. This is despite scores of users who willingly want to fling money their way, regardless of support options (or lack thereof). I know when my Swype beta expired, I was heartbroken. You just can't go back to tapping after Swyping. I tried SlideIT and Shapewriter. I really disliked SlideIT, and while Shapewriter was tolerable, it was still no Swype. I admit I may be biased having used Swype first. I was elated to see the day after my beta expired, that they opened up the official program to anyone who wanted to sign up. Perhaps the Swype folks are having at least a small change of heart regarding their marketing stratgey.
  • Re:Krogdor (Score:4, Interesting)

    by beanpoppa ( 1305757 ) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @10:44PM (#32636642)
    I've been using Swype for a little while now on my Droid, and you are right. Short words are more ambiguous, and harder for Swype to interpret. But Swype also lets you touch-type words like any other touch-screen keyboard. I've gotten into the habit of touch-typing out short words, and 'Swyping' the longer ones. While other touch-screen keyboards try to mimic the physical keyboard world (haptic feedback, etc), Swype embraces new methods that a touch-screen can bring about.
  • Re:Flick Input (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @10:53PM (#32636684) Homepage

    "They are faster than multi-tap for sure, but, with the exception of typing obscure non-dictionary words, swype will be way faster."

    In my particular case (admittedly not very common) I write in multiple languages. An input method that relies on dictionary matching would require me to switch the input language all the time. You could solve it by allowing the use of multiple simultaneous dictionaries of course, but I know of no input system that would allow me to do so (and there may be reliability problems if you increase the corpus too much I guess).

    But I also like flick better because it lets me type with the same hand I hold the phone. Swype - and, to a lesser extent, a normal qwerty input - really needs you to hold the phone with one hand and type with the other.

    Anyway, I really like that there's multiple ways of typing available - not to mention Android phones with hardware numpads, slideout keyboards and laptop-style fold-out designs. We can all choose our own preferred way to write.

panic: kernel trap (ignored)