Jul 21 AT 2:46 PM Anthony Domanico 79 Comments

SwiftKey Beta: One of the best keyboard replacement apps out there

Have you grown tired of the stock Android keyboard or are just looking to try something new? By now you have probably noticed that there are more keyboard replacements out there than you can shake a stick at (and believe me, I’ve tried). A little over a week ago, the competition for keyboard replacement apps got a lot stiffer, as SwiftKey beta was launched on the Android market. The SwiftKey beta seems to be an instant hit, as in its first week of existence it was downloaded over 100,000 times, which easily propelled SwiftKey to the top of our weekly download charts. But, how good is SwiftKey? I have spent the last couple of days with SwiftKey, and what follows are the impressions I’ve had thus far.

SwiftKey is truly a revolutionary new way to input text on your Android phone. When you initially set up SwiftKey, you are prompted to download one of dozens of language packs. Then, SwiftKey gives you the option to allow it to scan your SMS messages to get a feel for your typing style which customizes the word predictions it suggests to you going forward.

Where SwiftKey obviously shines is its word prediction feature. Up to 1/3 of the time, it accurately guesses what word you’re going to type next based on what you’ve typed up until that point. I was actually dumbfounded at the accuracy of SwiftKey. I posted a few Twitter messages and Facebook status updates using SwiftKey, and the word prediction seemed to be right even more than 1/3 of the time, and even if it wasn’t, typing only a few letters of the word I wanted would usually bring it up in the bubble so I could tap it and insert the word I wanted.

SwiftKey by and large looks and feels like the HTC_IME keyboard that comes preloaded on many HTC Sense devices, which is definitely a good thing. SwiftKey just feels more slick and attractive than the stock keyboard.

Though I know several of you differ on this, but in my opinion Swype has set the gold standard for on screen text-entry and is my keyboard of choice. That being said, I feel SwiftKey is the best non-swipe-to-type keyboard out there, and is easily worth downloading to see if it is enough to replace the stock keyboard, or whatever other keyboard replacement app you happen to be using. Because SwiftKey is still in beta, it is only going to get better before its final release.


  • HTC_IME look and feel
  • Able to predict words with incredible accuracy, even before you’ve typed a single letter
  • Long-press numbers and punctuation marks so you don’t have to switch between input modes
  • Ability to use SwiftKey in multiple languages
  • Swiftkey learns your style and gets better at prediction as time goes on


  • The only think I’ve found that I don’t like to date is the font on the keyboard itself. Just seems a little weird to me

Final Verdict

SwiftKey has reached 100,000 downloads in just one week of being on the market for good reason; it is one of the best keyboard replacement applications out there, and I would strongly encourage you to download SwiftKey to check it out for yourself.

For more information on SwiftKey, head over to their website and/or check out the promo video below.

SwiftKey Banner Image2 swiftkey swiftkey prediction swiftkey swiftkey swiftkey prediction 4 swiftkey prediction 5

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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  • Dave K

    Once you get used to Swype, where you just focus on typing entire sentences rather than letters or even words, it’s impossible to beat. SwiftKey might be good at predicting text, but you’re back to a typing style focused on letters and words, which is slower.

    • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

      You’ll note in the review that I said Swype stands out as a category on its own.

      I personally adopted Swype and likely won’t ever look back, but there are several people out there who don’t like Swype. Swiftkey will likely be a killer app for them.

      • http://www.romanstwelve.net jeremy reger

        I would agree Swype stands out leaps and bounds beyond any other keyboard… to say it is in a different category is pretty ridiculous… a keyboard is a keyboard..

        • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

          It all depends on your definition of categories.

          For me, there are type keyboards, then there are swipe-to-type keyboards.

          That’s just me.

        • http://Website kesh

          If you want to try swype, it’s now available for beta testing on almost any android smartphones.

    • http://Website rainai

      I love and use both Swype and Swiftkey. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. Swype is great when typing in English (or the other 2 languages that come with the beta). I use Swype whenever I use English (texting my English-speaking friends, replying to this post, etc…). But, unfortunately, English is not my native tongue. I’m Filipino. And honestly, tap-typing on Swype just sucks. This is where Swiftkey shines. It makes tap-typing so much faster and easier.

      • http://Website vani77a

        Hi rainai…
        actually you can train Swype to “speak” in Filipino, just enter your most commonly used words in the user dictionary of your fone :)

        (not perfect though, and it would take a while… and Swype do remember your most commonly used words… been training my swype for about a month now.. for short quick txt its pretty functional)

    • http://Website Dancer

      Till now i used the standard solution and now the swiftkey. I also tried swybe but i couldnt swpype properly over the screen with sweaty hands. how do you manage this?

    • http://Website jc

      i agree its hard to back to typing but,,i think for some reason slideit keyboard is a little better than the swype..just my opinon

  • http://Website Waleed Alvi

    I’ve been using SwiftKey for awhile now, and i can say that your messages are typed faster then the stock android keyboard! the predictions for sentences are amazing and it saves words and sentences you have used and remember who you used it on!
    i give it a 10/10!!!

  • http://Website mark

    My problem with Swype is if you typing a long-ish word, you have to swype the ENTIRE word whereas on a regular keyboard typing just M-I-S, for example, is going to bring up Mississippi. To get Mississippi on Swype you’ll have to drag your finger across the screen for 10 seconds. In the end, I think it’s super cool and completely amazing, but not the fastest or easiest way to type.

    I’ve been loving Smart Keyboard Pro but will definitely give SwiftKey a shot – it looks sweet.

    • Killa

      Well if you know how to use it, swyping Mississippi only takes 2 1/2 to 3 seconds. :)

      • http://Website @neidlinger.

        3 second to type mississippi?

        • Killa

          SWYPE Mississippi. With the SWYPE keyboard.

    • http://Website jc

      try the slideit keyboard its faster than swype and you dont have to be very accurate or go over a letter for double letter…its faster just try it and youl like it its also alot easier to add words to the dictionary.

  • http://Website roy

    I don’t see why we’d have to choose between swype and this. I think they both have their pro’s and a combination would be perfect!

    • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

      Yeah, I dont’ know. I don’t really like having to go back and forth between keyboards. I’d rather pick something and stick to it.

      • http://Website QDigga

        It’d be nice if the keyboards had a toggle built in to the actual keyboard, so you can switch swype typing and regular typing on the fly within whatever app you are using…..

        • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

          Still, that’s pretty easy to do with three clicks (long press, input method, method of choice).

  • http://Website Ipadking

    It’s a Cool keyboard but it does not do speech to text.

  • http://Website ontheFritz

    I gave swype another shot after hating it the first time around and ended up liking it. But only for long words… You don’t even need to be close to hitting the correct letters on words like “restaurant” and it will know what you’re saying. For other words.. like “the”… it very often registered “threw” since my finger naturally went by the “r” key. Very frustrating.

    Tried swift key and found it distracting to continually look for the right predicted word. There have been a few times I’ve written out the word and NONE of the predicted words matched. Weird I know, but also impossible to correct unless you remove the space bar select feature.

    So I’m back to stock better keyboard haha. Really is the fastest for me.

    • http://Website Bartholomew

      Once you type in a word for the 1st time, touch it in the prediction. it will be blue. then the next time you type that work it will predict it for you. I had to add variations of the cuss words and also added my own abbreviations like “ur” “2day” “2night”, now it just picks them up instantly.

      Swype is cool and all, but it always screws up on me cause on my man hands. I think the developer must of had thumbs of a child.

      • Dave K

        I type things wrong all the time but Swype is pretty good at fixing it. That’s why it’s so easy to just focus on typing entire sentences, most of the time Swype will have fixed the typos.

        • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

          Yep, swype is pretty wonderful like that.

          The whole argument I was trying to make is that SwiftKey has the potential to be #1 for folks who don’t like the whole swyping thing.

  • http://www.romanstwelve.net jeremy reger

    You’ve got to be kidding me… how much did they pay you for this title… Swype is so much faster and accurate… this article is really on the bad side of garbage…

    • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

      you must not have bothered to read past the title, if you bothered to read that far. The title says “One of the best.” not the best. I say in the article that Swype is the gold standard and deserves to be in a category of it’s own, and that SwiftKey is one of the best typing keyboards out there.

      Several people don’t like swype. Get over it.

  • http://www.linein.org/blog/ john

    I loved SiftKey, but sadly had to uninstall it due to it sucking way to much system memory. It was sitting there taking up 23MB of memory.

    Will defiantly try again when they fix that issue.

  • http://Website sgb101

    just installed it on my HTC desire, set it up and it is no different to the standard sense keyboard!

    am I missing something or is it not working for me?

    • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

      Are you sure you enabled it in the settings?

      • http://Website sgb101

        I did, don’t know why it never changed. I un-instilled it earlier, so will try again later.

        It will need to be good to better the desires keyboard, it is very good.

        • http://Website Sgb101

          On second installation and setup all worked fine.

          First impressions is that it seems cluttered in comparison to the sence stock, but the prediction is scary its that good.

          I will give this one as good testing and I may stick with it. Well for atleast a week anyway:-)

          • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

            It should be almost identical to the stock Desire keyboard, which I believe is HTC_IME.

            Glad setup worked well the second time.

          • http://Website sgb101

            It isnt, as good as the sense stock, could only put up with it for 2 days, which is a shame ad the predictive text was excellent.

            However the keyboard was cramped and wasn’t that well organised. In its credit to get the £ sign only took 2 clicks instead of the 3 on the stock.

  • http://Website brent

    Is the “swype” technology patented? If not then a combination application of swype and swiftkey sounds like a winner. I use swype, haven’t tried swiftkey, but sounds like it has some addvantages not available to swype. Maybe a little copy-cat action is needed.

    • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

      I don’t think it’s patented, as SlideIt had the same premise.

      • http://Website Jimmy13

        I could be wrong. (seeing as I just assumed) But I thought SlideIt was pulled because swype had the rights. I am pretty sure slideit is no longer on the market.

        • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

          hmmm… hadn’t heard that, but it’s plausable. Thanks for the catch!

  • http://Website Lesley

    I installed it, but it’s not showing up in my apps. I just have the stock android keyboard. maybe this APP is compatible with Froyo…?

    • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

      Lesley, you need to turn it on in settings. From the home screen, hit menu, settings, languages and keyboards, and there should be a checkbox next to SwiftKey that you can select to turn it on.

      Then long press in a text field, select text input (or input method) and select swiftkey.

      Let me know if you need further explanation.

      • http://Website Lesley

        Thank you! That worked… :) So far, so good!! I love it!

        • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

          Very glad to hear you’re enjoying it, and that the setup worked for you.

  • http://Website killahbeans

    Great article Anthony! Swiftkey is def the best tap keyboard out there. I personally prefer swype but can see how some would not like it. Its always great to have options. It would be cool if you could have the best of both worlds and have swiftkey-like predictions when tapping on your swype keyboard. I sometimes find it hard to swype when drunk…

  • McLovin

    …”there are more keyboard replacements apps out there than you can shake a stick at”.

    Of course that makes perfect sense. Soft keyboards suck so bad you gotta find something to help relieve the pain.

    I’m sticking with a physical keyboard.

    • http://Website B

      Why so soft keyboards suck?

  • http://Website David

    Works great of FroYo, but I didn’t get the request for it to scan my SMS messages.

    • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

      Hmmm…that was one of the first things that came up for me. You can also do this in the settings (click on the wrench in the keyboard to get to settings).

  • http://Website B

    Is it better than smart keyboard pro?

  • http://Website GuardianAli

    Until alternate keyboards have the little mic button to speak ur words like the default, i wont switch.

  • http://Website Alan

    Its nice yes, But even on HTC Sense deviced I hardly use the word prediction of the keyboard as I feel like i’ll get lazy and start to forget how to spell words properly, And it only gets used when I cant spell a word correctly!

  • http://dontrunwithscissors.org/ Zim

    If swype had this power of prediction (to fix mis-swyped words), it would be the killer keyboard app…

  • http://www.sprucestradio.com Chris

    I’m a Swype user. I did try SwiftKey, which was impressive. But now that I’ve gotten Swype down, I’m pretty sure I’ll stick with it.

    One thing I did notice with SwiftKey is that after analyzing my text messages, it typed out a completely coherent sentence just by tapping the “predicted word” a bunch of times! Kind of creepy! I wonder if it takes sentence structure and stuff like nouns and such into account. Probably not, but it was weird to see it “predict” what sentence I was gonna type.

    System component replacements are one of the things that really prevent me from switching back to the iPhone. I really like the selection of apps and such on the iPhone 4, but I’ve got Swype, SlideScreen Pro, and Locale installed on my Nexus and it’s kind of a killer software combination.

    The home screen now gives me most of my useful information without being ugly and cluttered (I like widgets, but they look bad when it’s a bunch of small floating gadgets) – 90% of the time I can do what I need to do directly from SlideScreen (sms, twitter, google reader, email, phone calls, weather…), and Locale is awesome for getting my settings properly configured without thinking about it. Add swype to the mix, and iOS looks clunky and slow by comparison.

  • rlcressy

    Tried this app. Got part way thru the install and the app crashed. When I tried to restart it it kept crashing. It then kept poping up on the screen that it had crashed and needed to “force close”. Every time I closed it I got the message within 10 seconde. I finally managed to run the uninstaller and got rid of the problem. I am using a Samsung Moment with 2.1

    • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

      Hmmm…can’t say that I’ve had this problem, or known anyone who has had this problem.

      My best advice is to head over to swiftkey’s website (linked above) and send them an email to see what’s going on.

  • http://Website Eyejon

    I downloaded and tried it out. I didn’t last a day with it installed. I was typing the wrong keys (I rarely, if ever, did that with the stock keyboard) and I couldn’t find some characters I needed. I really wanted to like it. At first, when it should me words for things I had already spelled I thought ‘very cool’.

    This is not a rant or complaint. I just wanted to offer my experience with it.

  • http://clarklab.net Clark Wimberly

    I installed it and uninstalled it in a matter of minutes based on the look of the key skin. The font they picked was terrible and overall it looked cheap.

    I’m too shallow.

    • http://www.myspace.com/hermyhalloween hermyhalloween

      I looked at it on the Market and I agree- the font choice is terrible. I don’t want anywhere near it.

    • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

      Yep, I hate it as well. It’s not something that grows on you either. When I was writing the post up, I was thinking “eh, it’s not really my taste, but I’ll roll with it” This morning it’s just disgusting.

  • http://www.myspace.com/hermyhalloween hermyhalloween

    I cannot find Swype on the Market. I cannot find any other swipe type keyboard (other than the expensive looking foreign currency one mentioned earlier, SlideIt). I had a free swipe type keyboard once before but they removed their app from the market.

    Are there any free alternatives to a swipe type keyboard?

    • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

      Swype was never on the market. Head over to http://www.swype.com and sign up for the beta. I dont’ know when swype will ever release a non-beta version on the Android market, but rest assured we will keep you informed when it does happen.

  • http://Website Rolex

    One thing I dont understand about this and the stock android keyboard….why do they not have a return key like the htc keyboard and every keyboard in existance does?
    And if theres a combination keys that do the same job (something I’m missing?) then what are they?
    This is very bad for sentencing and structure purposes.

  • Miguel

    I tried it but had issues:

    1. I speak English and Spanish and in Froyo I can just swype across the spacebar to switch between them, including speech to text! Swiftkey only supports one language.

    2. No speech to text button.

    3. When entering a recipient in email or SMS swiftkey would not trigger the addressbook to show me relevant contacts. No problem when switching to the stock keyboard.

    4. I found the word suggestions to be lacking and I did not see the option to scan SMS nor is it in the settings.

    • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

      SwiftKey supports multiple languages. Go in the settings to download more language packs. I’m sure there is a setting in there to select your language once you have multiple language packs.

  • http://Website Chris

    I like SwiftKey, but i would prefer the auto completion functionality combined with the default android keyboard layout. This would be very fine for me :-)

    • http://Website Derek

      I absolutely hate the stock android keyboard (portrait mode) the keys are too narrow. It takes 5 times as long for me to type anything because almost every key I hit is wrong. The stock samsung keyboard that comes on the captivate is worlds better than stock android. I tied the HTC-IME one and liked it too.

  • http://Website Derek

    the one thing about swiftkey I dont like is its too darn big. It takes up almost the entire screen in portrait mode and it does take up the entire screen in landscape. I think they made the buttons for predicted words too big and it seems like the text buttons have a little extra space they could shed. but other than that its pretty good keyboard. Better than stock android by a mile, and slightly better than the stock keyboard on samsung.

  • http://Website greg

    Not being able to dismisses the keyboard is the only bad thing I’ve found so far, but it does keep me from useing it.

  • http://Website Scott

    Used it for a couple days. Was impressed but suffers from large diversion from standard keyboard typing. The dealbreaker for me was no microphone key to initiate the voice recognition. One could argue that voice recognition is less needed with this app but at the end of the day, nothing is better that not having to type/swype on a keyboard. Uninstalled it swiftly.

    • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

      I appreciate the honest feedback, and greatly enjoyed your play on words at the end!

      Voice recognition is hit or miss with some people. I personally never use it.

  • Ryan C

    i hate to say this but ive tried using the swiftkey and mabey its just me or i didnt use it enough but i hated it. i was acually typing words correctly and it would change them thinking i ment something else when i clearly did not. To swiftkey, i acualy enjoyed the switch back to the default.

    • Ryan C

      It was actualy taking me longer to txt with having to go back fix words multiple times.

      • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

        There’s a slight learning curve, but I typed one letter and it generated the sentence I wanted to say without typing another.

  • http://pro-thoughts.blogspot.com/ vkelman

    @Anthony, is Swiftkey better than HTC_IME? I installed HTC_IME hack on my Nexus One long time ago and always use it to type in Cyrillic. Does it make sense to replace HTC_IME with Swiftkey?
    Nothing is better than Swype when typing in English, but it doesn’t have Russian keyboard.
    Since Swype supports a normal single symbol typing, it would be really great to combine in one super application swyping a-la Swype and regular typing with word prediction a-la Swiftkey.

    • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

      That would be an ideal combination.

      The text prediction alone makes SwiftKey better than IME. That is just my opinion of course, give it a try for yourself and see what you think.

      Nice catch on BlindType. I hadn’t seen that yet.

  • http://pro-thoughts.blogspot.com/ vkelman
    • http://Website sgb101

      Blind type looks very good, can’t wait to see it. It didn’t show and numbers being in-putted, but does look very cool.

    • http://Website Dancer

      Simply amazing.

  • http://pro-thoughts.blogspot.com/ vkelman

    I installed SwiftKey. It’s actually pretty good and predicts words well. Unfortunately it doesn’t have Russian language pack [ yet ]. Interestingly, I’ve just typed the same message in different places and it looks like SwiftKey remembered the whole sentences or at least combinations of words. One thing I miss after using Swype is an automatic insertion of empty space after a word. Sometimes SwiftKey does it though… II’m not sure I get it.
    Still, Swype is my keyboard of choice for now. I would use SwiftKey for Russian, but there is no such language pack. So, I am stuck with HTC_IME.

  • http://www.myspace.com/hermyhalloween hermyhalloween

    does anyone know what happened to Shapewriter? it was free (I wouldn’t have minded paying for it at all) and in ways seems superior to Swype.

    god I miss shapewriter.

  • http://Website Richard

    I had swiftkey installed but it just stopped working, uninstalled, rebooted, battery out, reboot, reinstall and it just launches the standard one. I have no idea why it has stopped working.