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