Jun 11 AT 2:01 AM Dima Aryeh 25 Comments

SwiftKey keyboard now free with theme stores, free and paid themes

SwiftKey 5

In a very surprising move, SwiftKey has announced that the company will be changing to a very different business model. In the transition, the previously $3.99 keyboard will be absolutely free for all. This is obviously great for consumers (it’s a favorite among us here at Android and Me), but how will the business make money?

Instead of selling the app, the company has opened a theme store. An open theme market has long been a requested feature, as people wanted to create their own themes and have a wider selection of them instead of being stuck with the stock set. It’s great to see this market open up, as people who really want themes can get them (in both free and paid forms) while those who just want the keyboard can get it for free.

SwiftKey themes

This update also adds things like an optional number row above the keyboard (incredibly useful on large devices), integration of over 800 emoji, more languages and improved predictions. Overall, this is a huge update and a very surprising change.

This is the start of an incredibly exciting phase for us as a business. We have made the decision to go free to better enable everyone, everywhere, to use SwiftKey’s market-leading technology without payment being a barrier. We're focused not only on reaching more users with our powerful technology, but on building great content and features to engage them.Jon ReynoldsSwiftKey CEO

Now, I’m sure many of you purchased SwiftKey, no matter how long ago. While you’ve most likely got your money’s worth, the company wants to reward its loyal customers. Those who have paid for the app will receive a free “Premier Pack” of 10 themes that usually costs $4.99.

If you’re interested in picking SwiftKey up for yourself, and you really should be as it’s an amazing keyboard, hit the widget to download it! And if you already own it, update it and head to the Themes section to redeem your free theme pack! What do you guys think of this change? Leave a comment!


Show Press Release
San Francisco, CA, June 11, 2014 — SwiftKey Keyboard, Android’s best-selling paid app, today sheds its $3.99 price tag to become free. This shift comes alongside an update to the app that introduces dozens of new free and premium keyboard themes, giving users more customization choices for their on-screen typing experience.

SwiftKey Keyboard replaces a mobile device’s keyboard with one that understands language and learns your personal writing style. These insights improve typing with more accurate autocorrect, prediction of your next word and other innovations like SwiftKey Flow, which lets you type faster by sliding your finger across the screen. The app launched in 2010 to critical acclaim, and is one of the world’s best-selling Android applications, spending more days at number one on Google Play than any other paid app.

Today’s transition to free gives all Google Play users access to that award-winning software at zero cost. This means that all of the market-leading features that have defined SwiftKey’s success as a paid app are now completely free. The move accelerates SwiftKey’s ambition to reach millions of new users, especially in developing economies. It also creates a more sustainable business model in the app, where users can choose to pay for themes and other content to further enhance their experience.

In making the transition, SwiftKey is rewarding loyal users who have previously paid for the app. These users can download a $4.99 “Premier Pack” of 10 themes free of charge. The app’s core functionality remains intact.

In addition to new themes, today’s update brings several other user-requested improvements. Support for over 800 emoji is now integrated directly into the keyboard, with a new prediction feature that learns how emoji are used and predicts them as you type.*

An optional dedicated number row is now available for the keyboard, making it easier to input numbers. SwiftKey’s word prediction engine has also been improved, with better autocorrect and more accurate gesture typing, and new global languages have been added, bringing the total number supported to 66.

SwiftKey co-founder and CEO Jon Reynolds said: “This is the start of an incredibly exciting phase for us as a business. We have made the decision to go free to better enable everyone, everywhere, to use SwiftKey’s market-leading technology without payment being a barrier. We’re focused not only on reaching more users with our powerful technology, but on building great content and features to engage them.”

SwiftKey co-founder and CTO Ben Medlock said: “With the latest version of SwiftKey Keyboard, we’re providing an even more intuitive and personalized experience for our users, which they’re increasingly expecting. We’ve expanded our design team to focus on developing creative and beautiful user experiences. Our commitment to innovation has never been stronger and we are looking forward to sharing more exciting developments in the future.”

This updated version of SwiftKey Keyboard will include:

SwiftKey Store

Stocked at launch with over 30 brand new themes, the SwiftKey Store will be regularly updated with fun customizable content.

New default theme

In addition to the new themes in the Store, SwiftKey Keyboard now features a clean new default theme design, ‘Nickel’, available free to all users. Nickel was designed to be a modernization and ergonomic improvement to SwiftKey’s ever-popular Cobalt theme.

Emoji Prediction

SwiftKey’s trademark prediction technology learns and proactively suggests from more than 800 emoji which are most often used with specific words and phrases.

Number row

Due to popular demand, this latest update introduces an optional number row for quick access without switching layouts or using long-press.

Improved prediction engine

Investment in SwiftKey’s core technology is higher than ever with a host of prediction engine improvements, including better support for complex languages and multilingual typing. Capitalization has also been enhanced, as well as the technology’s overall learning ability.

New language support

Support for Belarusian, Mongolian, Tatar, Uzbek and Welsh has been added.

New and improved flow trails

This gesture-based feature has been improved for better visibility and faster, more accurate input.

*Emoji are only supported on Android versions 4.1 and above. To enable emoji prediction, go to Settings > Advanced, and select the box marked “Emoji prediction.”

Editor’s Note:

SwiftKey Keyboard is available globally, for free, on Google Play. The app formerly known as SwiftKey Keyboard Free was a one-month trial of SwiftKey’s paid app and has been superseded by today’s app that does not expire.

SwiftKey is represented by an in-house comms team. They can be reached at press@swiftkey.com. For urgent media inquiries in the Americas, please contact Jennifer Kutz, +1 415 340 2427. For urgent media inquiries in the rest of the world, please contact Ruth Barnett, +44 7858 257615.

About SwiftKey:

Founded in London in 2008, SwiftKey specializes in building technology that makes it easy for everyone to create and communicate on mobile. The company is best known for SwiftKey Keyboard, its ‘mind-reading’ touchscreen keyboard app, which topped Google Play’s best-seller list in 2012 and 2013. The company’s first iOS app, SwiftKey Note, launched in early 2014 and was selected by Apple as Editor’s Choice.

SwiftKey’s technology has also been a hit with hardware manufacturers and is currently featured on more than 200 million devices worldwide. The company has raised more than $20M in venture capital to date, has accumulated many industry awards, and has over 140 employees around the world. For more information, visit www.swiftkey.com.

Dima Aryeh is a Russian obsessed with all things tech. He does photography, is an avid phone modder (who uses an AT&T Galaxy Note II), a heavy gamer (both PC and 360), and an aspiring home mechanic. He is also an avid fan of music, especially power metal.

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  • namesib

    *Only if you first agree to use their cloud service. No thanks.

    • N

      fckn paranoid

      • MitchRapp81

        You can always agree, install the theme(s) you want, and remove your cloud profile (and also delete all cloud data) if you’re that paranoid. Keep in mind, however, that SwiftKey doesn’t give two sh*ts about your typed data.

  • jerrbomb

    I know that there are lot of third party keyboard offerings out there… And many would argue against the using of their cloud services.. I for one used to be against the cloud.. On the subject of cloud.. SwiftKey isn’t pervasive with this matter as it cuts down the work of having to rebuild your personal dictionary.. Secondly.. I believe this freemium move is awesome… I got this app for free when on Amazon (purchased it none the less) and have been using it for years.. I love it.. I love how they haven’t forgotten their loyalty customers as some many devs do when they become big.. I also love how they continue to improve their services to meet the needs and wants of everyone.. Like they did today… By noticing that there are some out there who would love to use SwiftKey but are unable to cough up the upfront cost.. And the great thing is you don’t have to get any other themes if you don’t want to.. You can’t stick with the stock themes.. Which you would’ve had to pay for in the past with the purchase of the app.. I know I might sound like a fan boy to some but I’m speaking From a logical point of view in my opinion…

    • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

      Seriously, the feature that lets the keyboard learn the words you use is so awesome. I mean so freakin’ awesome. Swiftkey is, and has been, my go to keyboard since I first heard about it (I think when they first started). I like the Google keyboard too but I like my numbers in the 10 key format and not on a single row.

      Now that Swiftkey supports emoji I don’t have much use for the Google keyboard. I think it’s a smart move for them to drop the entry price tag and move to a model that the user can spend money if he or she wants with the themes.

  • N

    Purple theme is awesome!

  • jay555

    Trying it out now again after a couple of years of using the Google keyboard. Swiftkey seems kinda laggy compared to it, anyone else notice the same thing? I’m using a Galaxy S3. It also seems like its still more geared towards pecking than swiping which was the reason why I chose the Google keyboard over theirs back when Google introduced that feature.

    • jerrbomb

      That’s the awesome thing about Android… We each have our own likings.. I love SwiftKey.. But that’s all I know.. I tried other keyboards and I failed miserably at it… I kinda like Google keyboard… They have really improved… But I’ve invested alot of time into SwiftKey… I do however want to note that I didn’t noticed any Lag compared to their beta versions or their earlier builds… But that’s just me.. Peck.. Yup.. Can’t even deny that… Lol.. I’m pecking and using flow at that same time.. Lol..

    • Jillxz

      I tried it and didn’t like it nearly as well as my native LG G2 keyboard. It wasn’t nearly as responsive and fast . The key layout not as good as my native keyboard. I uninstalled it and will stay with my native keyboard. it swipes just as accurately as the Swiftkey does and I prefer the native one in my LG G2 .

      • jerrbomb

        I have hear LG has mad big improvements to their native keyboard.. In a way I wouldn’t blame you if their keyboard is just that good

  • WhoaManWtF

    So as someone that actually bought it do I get some credit in their new store for themes? Or am I just in the same position as whomever downloaded it for free and get nothing for that purchase?

    • Luke

      Yes, you get $4.99 worth of free skins if you were a premium customer before they made it available for free. It says so in all of their press release materials.

    • jerrbomb

      No.. You get their premium package for free since you’re a paid user… Got should have recieved an email.. I just un installed mine and reinstalled to push the update through along with my premium theme package…

      • SGB101

        I’m a paid up member of swiftkey, have been for a good few years, so I don’t think I’m in a position to demand extra cos I paid! I paid up and I got more than a few quids benifit.

        It’s people like you who thinks cos a one time peanut purchase, means lifetime support they have to give it away. I’d of happily payed yearly for sk, and will be buying a theme pack a month to keep shows my support.

        To my shame I didn’t know there was add on themes, so one good thing has come of this announcement.

        A couple of buck and your moaning, give it a rest.

        • jerrbomb


          • crnkoj

            I cant agree there, i had bought both the phone and tablet version back in the day, at some point they discontinued the tablet version and put everything into the “phone” app, now they made that app free and i get in return “free themes”, which i dont need, nor want. I much more prefer more functionality over useless same type themes in different colors, if i already paid for it. They just figured that most people who intended to buy their keyboard already bought it and that now t hey need a new model to earn money, right now with themes. Im pretty sure they will introduce some “premium features” – in regards to typing/predicting/swyping for which everyone will have to pay in in-app purchases (even those who already paid once for the “premium/pro” app).

    • Brandon Horwath

      You get access to 10 premium themes free. An email was sent out to paid customers with a link for it. If you didn’t get one… don’t feel bad. It appears most people didn’t.

      • SGB101

        Cnrkoj- give it a rest tight arse, you show you have had them both a good while, as I have, you have had much more benefits than the couple of bucks affords.

        Is it better that you don’t ‘feel’ ripped off, (even tho its a sunk cost), or that the dev continues getting funded.

        As if he doesn’t get funded, you don’t get the ongoing improvements you ask for above, even tho you don’t wish to continue funding said improvements.

  • tarman

    I bought the app when it first came out and have never looked back. Some of the themes from the “Premium Pack” can be found in the beta that is still working. They have added a few more themes. I kinda like Spotlight Green and the Teal versions. Wouldn’t mind that Yellow / Black theme (being a Steeler fan).

  • Mark

    Im glad I got a free theme pack, since I paid for the service awhile back, but even if they didn’t give anything in return, I still love the app. Who knows, maybe the awesome service would never have been made possible today, if they didn’t charge for the better keyboard before. They did offer a free version before too, by the way.

  • jamal adam

    It’s the best keyboard I’ve used and one of the first apps I install on my devices.

  • Brandon Horwath

    I use SwiftKey if I want completely random text predictions and autocorrections. The kind of text writting that looks like a kindergarten child pounding on the keyboard followed by an Auto-spell check before sending.

    SwiftKey is great for that!

    But, when I just feel like writing the correct word once and not deleting some off-the-wall replacement word or phrase I use a stock keyboard. Personally, I think that method is more efficient.

  • alexanderharri3

    As far as SwiftKey goes, they were getting to the point where new purchasers were getting lower and lower since everyone who wanted it had it, many for free or $0.10 from a sale.

    They kept development, but the money stream was dwindling since there’s no ads – so making it a freemium app made sense despite hating the idea of freemium.

  • Momtomy4pack

    None of my emojis show up in my friends phones (iPhone users). What fun is an emoji if no one else can see it?

  • Dave Kratter

    I prefer Swype to SwiftKey. Tried SK several months back but there were a few issues (I can’t remember what anymore) that sent me right back to Swype.