Mobile - - By Romin Irani

The Best Android Keyboard: SwiftKey X

Smartphones are often touted as the tools that will lead to higher productivity in our daily lives. This is generally true with the large number of applications that are available in various categories. In spite of that, the most fundamental of all operations on the smartphone is typing and it is one of the pain points of using a smartphone. Several people are clearly in discomfort to type on a smartphone due to the small screen size and sometimes a bad keyboard layout that is often too small for their fingers.

It has been several years since “auto suggestion” has made its way into websites which require text input from users. Google Search is a prime example. Android developers have recognized that intelligent auto suggestion is probably a way to typing nirvana on the Android phone. And today we review one such application SwiftKey X that acts as a replacement for the standard Android keyboard and provides an intelligent auto suggest for the words that you are about to type, thereby making typing a breeze on your smartphone.

With over 500,000 downloads, SwiftKey X is definitely one of the premier keyboard replacements for your Android phone and we decided to check it out.

Downloading the App

SwiftKey X is available for both Android phones and tablets. Both are paid versions but a trial version for both the phone and tablet is available for 30 days, which is a good amount of time in which you can easily make a decision if you want to continue with your intelligent keyboard.

Installation and Setup

The installation was a breeze, but unlike most Android applications you do have some post installation steps to perform to setup the keyboard correctly, particularly downloading the correct language pack and indicating your preference for SwiftKey X as the default keyboard in your Android phone.

The post installation setup screen is shown below and guides you through the process. The first step is important and involves downloading the language pack. As each step is completed, you are taken to the next. After completing the steps, you will see a notification that indicates that SwiftKey X is all set for use as shown below.

SwiftKey X Figure 1 SwiftKey X Figure 2

Using the Application

Since SwiftKey X replaces your default keyboard, it will pop up in any application that you need to type in something, e.g. email and SMS application. The application truly lives up to its AI capabilities that predicting words that are likely to come up next. It is not just a list of words that it looks up but it constantly learns from what you are typing and does truly intelligent predictions.

An example of its prediction is shown below. Here I am composing a text message and the first screen shows how it shows the word “writing” when I simply typed in “wr”. All you need to do is click on the middle word “writing” and it is inserted, thereby saving you several keystrokes. The next screen shows how it suggested the word “review”.

SwiftKey X Figure 3 SwiftKey X Figure 4

Equally strong is its ability to learn from your interactions with Gmail, Facebook and Twitter applications, if you elect to let SwiftKey X mine that behaviour too. The trial application even provides statistics to help you check out how SwiftKey X has made a difference to your typing. An example screen from my usage statistics is shown below.

SwiftKey X Figure 5

As mentioned above, with regard to installing the appropriate language pack, SwiftKey X supports multiple languages, so make sure that you download a language pack that is suitable for you during the initial setup or via the application.

Final Points

I have been using the SwiftKey X trial version (for phones, the SwiftKey Tablet X version is for tablets) for more than a week now and it has definitely helped me type much faster. At times, I have been delighted at its ability to read my mind and predict the next words that I am likely to have in my sentence. I believe that there has been at a 2x–3x speed improvement in the amount of time taken to write things, with SwiftKey X.

The only downside that we could think of, is that on smaller screens the keyboard might be a touch too small for people with large fingers. But in fact, due to its predictive ability, it would still be beneficial to our large fingered users.

SwiftKey X really lives up to its tag line of “Type Less and Say More”.

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