While we don’t always pay attention to it, the keyboard on our smartphone is one of the most integral pieces of the device. Manufacturers and software designers have spent many hours studying keyboards trying to make them better, and one company that has made significant strides is SwiftKey, the company that’s created one of the best virtual keyboards to date.
The powerful algorithms within SwiftKey allow it to quickly learn from you and your ways of thinking and typing, personalizing it for you. In the future, SwiftKey may be even more powerful, with SwiftKey now offering its powerful neural network-based keyboard in alpha. SwiftKey Neural is a new project by the company that uses AI to mimic the way the human brain thinks, so as to better predict sentences. One of the downsides, however, is that SwiftKey Neural can’t be customized for users based on things like email and social media.
Update: Microsoft has confirmed that it is indeed purchasing SwiftKey. Microsoft has stated that SwiftKey will continue to be developed for iOS and Android. The company will be using the acquisition to integrate SwiftKey’s technology into the Word Flow keyboard for Windows. There’s no word yet on whether or not other manufacturers who have partnered with SwiftKey to create keyboards will be able to continue doing so.
With SwiftKey leading the pack in terms of innovation, it stands to reason that the company would be a hot purchase opportunity. According to a report from the Financial Times, that’s just about to happen, with the publication reporting that Microsoft is on the verge of purchasing SwiftKey for a whopping $250 million.
What Microsoft will do with SwiftKey isn’t entirely clear. While it’s likely that the computing giant will utilize SwiftKey’s technology in its own keyboards, we can’t be sure that the company will allow SwiftKey to continue to function as its own independent company. Microsoft has a mixed record in this area, sometimes allowing acquired businesses to continue to function on their own, but also occasionally shutting them down after merging the new technology into Microsoft products.
In any case, we’ll let you know if official confirmation arrives.