Swype is a third party keyboard for Google Android phones. The main thing setting Swype apart from the stock Android keyboard is a text prediction system that lets you swype your finger from key to key without lifting your hand from the screen. Want to enter the word “keyboard?” Just drag your finger from K to E to Y and so forth. Theoretically it’s a lot faster than entering letters one at a time using your thumbs — even though you’re using just a single finger with Swype.
Personally, I’ve gotten rather good at using the default keyboard and I’m not sure Swype speeds things up all that much — especially because if Swype isn’t sure what word you meant to enter it will pop up a list of words to choose from which can slow things down, although I suppose it’s better than just having the software make random guesses.
Swype comes preinstalled on some Android phones including the Samsung Galaxy S. But this summer the developers also offered a beta version for installation on any phone. The beta is closed, meaning you can’t sign up for an account anymore — but if you already have an account, you might want to grab the new beta version Swype pushed out this weekend.
That’s because the original beta is set to expire soon and the new version has a number of bug fixes. There are new gestures, including the ability to change languages by swyping from the Swype key to the Q key. There’s also now support for German and Portuguese, and the Android IME won’t crash anymore when Swype scrapes your address book for dictionary entries. If you’re not using English as your language, Swype also won’t auto-capitalize the single letter “i” anymore.
If you already have a Swype beta account, you can download the new version by pointing your mobile browser at the Swype beta page.