SwiftKey Flow for Android released as public beta, we go hands-on

Daniel Bader

December 6, 2012 11:25 am


SwiftKey, after a long gestation period and a seemingly longer period of teasing the heck out of us, has released its Flow keyboard to the world. Unlike previous betas, which were available only for VIP forum members, this one is free to download from SwiftKey’s main website.

Combining the near-clairvoyant next-word prediction algorithms of its traditional peck keyboard with a Swype-like gliding system, Flow seemingly provides the best of both worlds.

In order to facilitate the quickest type of input, SwiftKey has developed “Flow-through-space”, or the ability to continue gliding without lifting your finger as you go through words. When you finish a word, you glide over the space bar and continue to the next word. It works pretty well and, while it missed a couple words on my initial tests, provided a smooth experience.

The issue at the moment, which Swype solves elegantly, is entering punctuation. While SwiftKey still provides its Smart Space button, which combines directional gestures and a single button, Flow forces you to lift your finger to enter punctuation, disrupting the input experience. And, unlike Swype or Android 4.2’s stock keyboard, SwiftKey Flow doesn’t give you alternatives to the word you’re typing as you’re gliding through it; you have to correct it after the fact if it assumes the wrong word. This isn’t a dealbreaker, but it will likely force users to have to read over what they’ve written to ensure no mistakes were made. The same can be said of Swype but I feel that system is a bit more polished.

Overall, SwiftKey Flow is a great beta product, and works quickly and accurately. I did notice that when “flowing through space” there were a few times the entire sentence would just be erased if the keyboard couldn’t correctly predict the next word, but I’d expect all these bugs to be sorted in due time.

You can download SwiftKey Flow beta for Android and let us know how you like it.

Source: SwiftKey Flow

  • 8-down

    downloaded early this morning, have been using it since then. I think google 4.2 keyboard is alot faster and more user friendly. but swiftkey looks fantastic.

    • Eduardo

      Specially when you don’t have 4.2

    • John

      RIP Swype

    • JUST SAYING

      What about Apple map

    • John

      I redact my previous statement, holy hell this is buggy. Opening up the keyboard in my messages and it will freeze and literally sit there for 30-40 seconds before i can type.

      I love the predictive abilities of Swiftkey and i believe flow will be better than swype, but right now, swype or the 4.2 keyboard are the only way to go.

  • Eduardo

    Love it!
    Specially being able to swype in two different languages without having to switch languages (very useful when communicating with different people in different languages on the same app)

  • Jon

    Using an S3 running 4.1. The swiftkey flow seems pretty awesome. I was using Swype when i first got the s3… then i changed to Swiftkey 3. This seems to be the best of both worlds. The prediction is awesome.
    Only thing i dont like… in Swiftkey 3 you could swipe backwards and it would delete the last word… now with flow that makes no sense, so i haven’t found a way to delete the last word… might be in the help file… or not exist at all.

    • Jessy

      You have a point, I didn’t think of that.

    • crimsona

      Long press backspace deletes the last word

    • Psor

      To delete a word : long press the backspace key :)

  • haxor99

    I’ll stick with swiftkey 3. I’m not a fan of swype based typing.

  • Pascal

    in my case the battery went down rather quickly so I had to remove the app…the phone even froze on me so I had to reboot (before I decided to remove it )

  • mehmeh

    Finally!

  • john

    Installed it this morning for my S3 but I keep getting “Network Error” when I try to download a dictionary. I tried both WiFi and 3G with no luck…

    • B.W.

      I also get a network error when trying to download the dictionary.

    • Eduardo

      Keep trying, it took me a few minutes and at least 3 tries this morning to download it

    • bob

      I think there servers are full given the mass amount of people downloading today. If you just keep trying it works after a while… took me several tries though

  • tenk

    Me it only worked to download via 3G.

    Ive been using it since this morning and i have to admit its working pretty nice.

    Only down ive found is that it drains the battery, but for a first release its pretty sick!

  • Dalex

    Swiftkey 3 is one of the first apps I purchased on Android so long ago… It is truly a pleasure to use and only gets better and better. I’m not a fan of swiping to type, but I’m glad they offer so many options.

  • Tank

    just downloaded this on my nexus 7 and have to say that i’m quite happy. i don’t think that i’d be using it as my everyday (everyday being swiftkey 3) but id definatly use it while talking to people on gchat and skype when im not at a computer

  • lambdacore

    The only thing that seem to annoy me a little is that they don’t really show the word proposition anymore.

    They put one word, but if I want to change it, I have to press back and then the other choices appear.

    Unless I’m doing something wrong.

  • deli

    I agree with lambdacore.

  • Rob

    Just tried it … don’t like it.

    – I have to type the whole word
    – doesn’t guess properly
    – no choices of words
    – no back swipe to delete a word (deal breaker) – long press backspace is much slower

  • dukey

    Used swiftkey with 4.1, but 4.2’s keyboard is pretty close to perfection for me.

  • jay

    Can’t see the comments

  • DeeZee

    Using the Tablet version on my (original) Samsung Galaxy Note, running Liquid Smooth JB ROM. So far, it seems to be running fine…might become a replacement for my paid version of Swiftkey Tablet. Flow has a lot of positives for me, but I sill have lots of testing before it gets my 2-thumbs up.

  • KyoKeun

    I find myself using this more than 4.2 jelly bean keyboard :)