Once you have used a letter-trace keyboard like Swype or SlideIT, there really is no going back to one-letter-at-a-time typing. Sadly, Swype is only available fitted to certain phones at source but Nuance - of Dragon speech-to-text fame - has cooked up an equivalent that’s available to anyone with a handset running Android 2.1 …
I love this app, except
That like all speech enabled apps the size is huge. Running in at 10Mb + and no App2SD its just too big.
So like flash 10.1 (version indicative of the space required) its uninstalled despite being a great app.
The Swype beta was closed for a long time but is now open again so it can be got for free.
I was just about to say the same thing. I've only recently got my 'droid, and one of the first stops was Swype... Sign up for the beta, and there you go!
Brilliant... Makes me wonder why I bought a Desire Z with a really keyboard now! lol!
So this trace thing, is that the first serious innovation in actually using a touch-screen rather than re-implementing existing ideas on a medium they weren't designed for? Pinch-zooming would count too but that is fairly minor in comparison to a new way of doing input. Seems like a case of "the simple ideas are the best"
A nice offering...
...but how many people will take the plunge when Swipe offers much of the same and is free of charge?
"Swype is only available fitted to certain phones at source" - actually Swype has an just released a (second) beta, which is available to most Android phones...
Is the speech recognition done on the server or locally? I'm about to go off traveling, so being able to avoid data charges would be awesome.
"that’s available to anyone with a handset running Android 2.1 or above" - Nope! I was excited when I read this because Swype is not available for my X10 Mini Pro, but nor, it turns out, is this app - "the app could not be found" was the drearily familiar message after scanning the code at the end of the article
Currently a Swype user on Desire HD. Might look into this when the open Beta is over.
Suggestions, you say? Why, I have many!
- 3G Watchdog (Data tariff monitoring)
- AppBrain App Market (Notice the QCode is an AppBrain link)
- GMote / Unified Remote Control (Desktop PC remote control)
- gStrings (instrument tuner app)
- Handcent SMS (Awesome SMS / MMS messaging app)
- WhatsApp (Instant Messaging over the internet)
- Lookout (Security App)
- Tricorder (Sensor data app)
- Wifi Analyzer (Networking tool)
- Vaulty (Secure storage)
Just some of the few I use, some more specialist than others.
has been in open beta for a while now, so available for most 'droid devices. http://beta.swype.com/
Although Flext9 does look a bit better. Having been a user of Dragon in the past, I know how good Nuance's speech-to-text can be.
Bought, and instantly refunded.
This lacks app2sd, which is pretty much unforgivable. My HTC Desire is pretty tight on base storage now, because too many apps won't install on SD, and it has got to the point where unless I put my foot down, I don't get enough space to update apps.
So yeah, it might be nice, but until they make the minimal effort of providing app2sd, I won't be using it. This is a major issue for a lot of android users, and I am a bit surprised that the review didn't mention it (now is your cue to point out that it did, and I am going blind due to lack of coffee :D).
Not for a keyboard
"So yeah, it might be nice, but until they make the minimal effort of providing app2sd, I won't be using it."
It would be stupid enabling Apps2SD on a keyboard, you wouldn't be able to use it when USB storage is mounted/not present.
This is why live wallpapers etc. don't support it either.
Other apps really do need to start enabling it though.
You can download Swype...
"Sadly, Swype is only available fitted to certain phones at source "
Not quite true, it's not on the Android Marketplace but if you registered with the Swype beta you can download it. I got it onto my Desire that way.
El Reg Does and App of the Week for Android... Yay!
Regarding the app itself, I fail to understand why companies new to the market don't release a time limited trials for anything over a dollar, especially for a keyboard....
OK - market fed time limited trials are flawed in nature but it wouldn't be hard for the company to generate a phone-home and check expiry for a key tied to the gmail account
The keyboard itself is interesting but I don't think I'll invest in that with less than a thousand downloads and no comments now that Android Market only has a fifteen minute refund...
We watch and learn
Run-of-the-mill single-tap text entry
This is actually a very important feature that a lot of these predictive type keyboards miss off.
Swype drives me mad when the word you are tapping in letter by letter is not in the dictionary. It pops up a box with ridiculous suggestions along with your typed in letters and you have to tap to select. This is especially bad when you are typing in a password as the the suggestion popup which also contains the password you've just tapped is visible to anyone sitting next to you. Flext9 just lets you individually tap the letters and numbers unhindered.
My only beef is there is no trial version. So you've only got Google's ridiculous 15 minute refund window to decide whether you get on with it or not.
It's optional in Swype, you can turn it off and it is usually better if you do.
Swype's way of deleting a custom entered word annoy's me. If you are in tap-tap mode an dyou make a spelling mistake (such as when your beta period ends every few months) then the words get added to your dictionary and are annoying to remove.
I would also love to have a macro function in Swype (maybe this one does) . E.g. I could stored my e-mail address as a slide from the "Swype Key" to the "a" key? that would make life so much easier.
Couldn't get this to install on an HTC Hero.
Works for me!
I took a chance on this. Installed Ok on my Nexus One and I did a quick test within 15 minutes so I bought it.
The speech recognition seems to be done locally and is awesomely accurate. Just don't pause for too long as it will process and exit - I will probably keep this switched off and use manual exit. The keyboard swiping also looks good.
The point about installing to the SD card is a good one, hopefully this will be addressed at some stage.
I miss Graffitti
And the ability to do some proper writing on these things
It would be nice if someone reinvented the Palm Pilot
It's in the market
There's a graffiti keyboard, and by Access no less.
Don't miss graffiti, use it
Probably the third thing I hunted up once I got the color nook was graffiti.
It's early days yet, but the nook may finally be a useable replacement for my TX.
B-folders to migrate over the contact database. Graffiti for input. NewsRob for avantgo-like offline newsreading ability (based on a synchout to Google Reader.)
Also, I'm buying apps. NewsRob and Graffiti were no brainers. I want to encourage this community.
This keyboard certainly looks worth checking out , though.
Thanks for the article - I like the idea of an "Android App of the Week" series :)
"...the intelligent Search/Go/Done button"?? That is not a feature! - it is a requirement! When you develop an Android application that makes use of input boxes, you can specify an input action (done, go, search, send...)
It was the developers of the original applications who had the 'intelligence' to add that option, not the intelligence of the keyboard.
Apps2SD: for a keyboard? are you kidding me? what happens when you's SD card is mounted over USB? what will you do to type? (maybe Android is clever enough to swap to another IME?)
As far as I know - most voice-recog input for keyboards are routed through Google's services, but this is from the dragon-speaking people, so maybe it's their own service...
"Couldn't get this to install on an HTC Hero" - if you look at the supported devices for this keyboard, it seems it requires a phone with a higher resolution screen. This is the same problem Swype has on the Wildfire... this eliminates a number of gen1 and cheaper Android phones.
@Neill Mitchell- yeah, Swype's tap-tap input is terrible!
Dic too big...
I bet that's why the app is too big. Most people use 5000 words maximum - Swype and T9 dictionaries (and all spell-check dictionaries) should be small (say 10k words) and extensible. Only crossword solving dictionaries and their ilk need to be huge.
For instance, I was outraged recently to have Swyped 'tine' rather than 'time'. How many fucking times do you want to discuss fork prongs in SMS? It is much, much better to confirm the occasional use of a word outside the top-frequency list than it is to accept mis-spellings because they happen to be obscure or archaic words.
Place names especially should not be present in such dictionaries. Although I have to say that Swype does give you a better class of typo. As I wrote last week - this is Tuscaloosa (Ridiculous).
Can we stop our sudden fascination with QR codes now please?
I mean they were cool and techy and Japanese and stuff 5 years ago, but now they are just really really annoying. Really annoying.
Maybe use the alt attribute in the image tag to display the URL, rather than having it exactly the same as the title attribute. Or maybe just make a website link to the page you intended in addition.
QR codes are useful
If you're reading this story on your PC as most people will rather than on your phone, it's nice & convenient to just snap a photo of the QR code and go straight to the app rather than either
(A) Open Market, type in name of app, swear under your breath, type in *correct* name of app, scroll through list and choose it; or
(B) Open web browser, go to El Reg, find this story, find link to app, click it.
My point is that to not have the link in a human readable format in addition, is idiotic.
It's at the top and bottom of the article next to where it says 'More Info'
I bought this on the strength of this review and I think it is pretty awesome, especially the voice. Cracking to text the missus you'll be late on hands free.
Also checkout Green Power Free. this disables wireless and internet for periods while your phone is locked. My power usage went from 1/3 left at home time to over 8/10 full.
I loathe Swype
I may be in the minority here, but I hate, hate, hate Swype with a living passion, I found it fiddly and horrible to use on my Samsung Galaxy S compared to the default Samsung keyboard, never got round to swapping it back as the phone got returned PDQ due to a horrifically poor battery life and terrible reception despite Orange claiming they had excellent coverage in the area I was living at the time....yeah right.
Traded down to a Nokia 2730 to get decent battery life back and hopped back to O2 in the process to get good coverage (more than 2 foot from a window :P)
Nuance makes great software such as ...
Dragon Dictation which, in it's latest iteration, spends much of it's time learning even from your typed corrections
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