Android: Swype, the gesture-based typing tool that makes mobile phone text input much, much faster — to the point of Guinness World Record breaking — is once again available, this time as a wide-open beta, but only for a few days.
Swype came and went as a limited beta (and popular but unauthorised download), but the new version offers better support for multiple screens, along with a few other upgrades and features. The system remains the same — slide your finger over the letters in a word, and Swype takes an educated guess at what you wanted. If it’s not fairly certain, Swype will pop up with a chooser box full of close matches to pick from, though you can also you can go back and fix its misses by double-tapping a word and hitting the “Swype” key.
Also (seemingly) new in Swype’s settings is a variable speed-or-accuracy setting, detailed in the video below:
My big complaint with Swype, and every other gesture-based keyboard, is that they don’t offer easy access to Android’s built-in speech-to-text functionality. Typing with Swype is fast, but sometimes saying what I want to SMS is even faster. Unless an app offers its own microphone-type button, you lose the very neat ability to say anything you’d type in Android, unless you switch back to Android’s own keyboard (by pressing and holding on a text area). That niggling bit aside, Swype is a faster input option for those who take a few minutes to learn it.
Swype is a free download for “a few days,” according to the developer site, and shouldn’t be installed by anyone with a phone already loaded with Swype. Tell us what you think of Swype’s free offering and improvements, and whether you’d pay for a full upgrade, in the comments.