Swype Keyboard, a popular third-party keyboard for Android, has been discontinued. Once the de facto option for people looking to simplify typing on a smartphone, the unique swipe-to-type functionality that set it apart has been diluted by other popular companies getting into the mix in recent years.
The Microsoft-owned SwiftKey Keyboard is still supported and doing well in the Google Play Store. Even Google’s own Gboard incorporates the swipe typing feature for fast, nearly effortless typing.
As it stands, one can imagine that it’d be tough to stand out among the others, especially since they’re each updated on a comparatively frequent basis. But according to a statement made on Reddit by Swype Keyboard creator Nuance, the company is shifting its focus elsewhere for the time being, saying that it will “...no longer be updating the Swype+Dragon keyboard for Android. We’re sorry to leave the direct-to-consumer keyboard business, but this change is necessary to allow us to concentrate on developing our AI solutions for sale directly to businesses…”
How we interact with phones has changed
Having now exited a highly-competitive playing field, Nuance is focused instead on AI. While it’s not gunning for living room dominance in the way that Google, Amazon and Microsoft are with their smart assistants, this shift is indicative of a bigger trend happening in how we use our phones – a move that many companies, including its competitors, are already tapped into.
Most people still type while using their phones, but thanks to the always-listening voice assistants, like Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant, a lot of queries are being handled over voice. And that’s where AI comes in. Voice recognition paired with machine learning helps these assistants make life easier – something that Swype Keyboard was good for in its heyday.
You can still download Swype Keyboard if you’re curious, but it certainly won’t be updated in the future. At the time of writing, there’s a trial available and Nuance is still charging for the full version. But it’s possible that both could soon see removal from the Play Store at any time.
Via Android Police
- What's next for phones? Check out our MWC 2018 hub