When I had a Droid I used and liked Swype. It’s a great feature and it looks like it’s only getting better. Check out the new features after the jump.
If you havenâ€™t taken the time to play with Swype (the trace-to-type mobile keyboard alternative), youâ€™re missing out â€” and Iâ€™m not just saying that because it launched at one of our conferences. As evidenced by the fact that itâ€™s now built right into a ton of Android handsets, itâ€™s pretty damn good.
This morning, itâ€™s getting even better. Swype has just launched a new Beta with two fancy new tricks: Dragon-based voice dictation, and an improved ability to analyze the words youâ€™ve already typed to better determine what youâ€™re trying to type next.
While Swype has had voice dictation features for a while now by way of the system built into most Android handsets, this new system is powered by Nuanceâ€™s Dragon technology (as you may recall, Nuance purchased Swype for $100m back in October) Curiously, it seems the new system supplants the old one entirely â€” thereâ€™s no way to switch back, at least as far as Iâ€™ve seen.
The timing of the switch is particularly interesting, as the latest version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich) introduces near-realtime transcription, with words streaming onto the display as the speaker speaks simultaneously â€” something Dragon definitely doesnâ€™t do. Still, the company seems sure that Dragonâ€™s offering outshines anything Google has to offer.
The Betaâ€™s other new trick is called â€œadvance language modelingâ€ â€” which, as mentioned above, analyzeâ€™s what youâ€™ve typed so far so that itâ€™s got a better understanding of whatâ€™s coming next. To snag an example from the demo video below: take the term â€œMosh pitâ€. You drag your finger through â€œM-O-S-Hâ€, it knows youâ€™re trying to type mosh. But when you drag through â€œP-I-Tâ€, youâ€™re also hitting â€œP-O-Tâ€; do you mean Mosh Pit, or Mosh Pot? Probably the first one, as the second one isnâ€™t a thing. If youâ€™d instead typed â€œMushâ€ as the first word instead, itâ€™d know you probably meant â€œMush Potâ€.
If youâ€™re already in Swypeâ€™s Beta program (or are looking to get in), youâ€™ll be able to find all of the details right over hereâ€¦ eventually. While the Beta has just launched, it seems their servers are currently having trouble staying up.