We don’t usually report on the big startup deals of the day, but this one may affect the average Android user in the long term. Nuance, creators of the Dragon line of voice recognition software, is purchasing virtual keyboard company Swype for $102.5 million US. The deal brings together two of the most innovative software companies of our time, both of whom are working on making mobile input more tolerable.
Swype is a swipe-based virtual keyboard that was started in 2008 by Cliff Kushler, the part-inventor of the famous T9 text input. It debuted on Windows Mobile devices, but has grown largely due to Android’s ability to load multiple keyboards and effortlessly switch between them. It is estimated to be pre-installed on nearly 50% of all new Android devices. And while it isn’t available through the Marketplace, it can be obtained in beta form for free through their website.
It’s not known if the acquisition will lead to changes down the line for Swype, or incorporation with Nuance’s voice recognition software, but there is plenty of potential for improvement in Android’s stock inputs. We are big fans of Swype here, and are happy to see them find success.
Do you use Swype on your Android phone? Let us know in the comments.