Fleksy releases iOS SDK to subvert Apple’s keyboard restrictions


From the minute touch screens became the de facto smartphone interface, power users have looked for methods to replicate the superior typing experience of a full-QWERTY keyboard – some have been more promising than others. However, while Android features a handful of alternatives to its stock keyboard (SwiftKey, Swype, and Toronto’s own Minuum, for example), iOS users have been mostly left in the cold.

Apple currently forbids 3rd party keyboard applications from replacing the default iOS keyboard, leaving developers hard pressed to replicate their Android success. Fleksy, for example, operates as a standalone composition app on iOS with quick links to copy and paste, or share your words of wisdom via Messages, Mail, and select social networks. Fleksy’s text prediction engine works just as well, and the company claims over half a million iOS users, but mass adoption will likely remain elusive in such a limited format.

Today, Fleksy released its first SDK for iOS as an end run against Apple’s keyboard restrictions. The SDK lets developers to integrate Fleksy’s keyboard and text prediction engine into their application with a line of code, allowing users to toggle between the default iOS option and the more advanced Fleksy offering. Fleksy is currently limiting SDK access to approved parters to ensure a consistent experience, but it’s easy to imagine open developer access if things go well.

With the right app partners, things could go very well for Fleksy. Evernote integration could give the note taking service another feature to bolster its Premium account offering (with a revenue cut for Fleksy, of course); Facebook could integrate the keyboard to bolster its mobile accessibility (Fleksy, which promises a ’no-look’ typing experience, was initially tested by blind smartphone users to help improve its prediction algorithm) or combat  a deluge of messaging app competitors. It’s hard to imagine a popular iOS app that wouldn’t benefit from a better keyboard (ok, maybe not Instagram).

In a perfect world, success on iOS would eventually render Fleksy’s SDK obsolete by demonstrating a clear demand for keyboard alternatives, forcing Apple to loosen its restrictions (don’t laugh: it happened with in-app subscriptions). Until then, iOS users looking for a better typing experience will just have to wait.


  • Allen Li

    Apple is probably going to ban or retroactively remove Fleksy and then reverse-engineer the code to “invent” a new, “more intuitive” keyboard. Look at the new features of past iOS releases: what’s really new?

  • Sequoia46.2

    What a bad example Fleksy would set though! The keyboard has terrible autocorrection. It’s not ready to be a keyboard yet. If you type one extra letter or one less letter, then it cannot guess the correct word at all. It only corrects of you have typed on keys beside your goal keys for the correct spelling, but not if you’ve spelled wrongly. That makes it useless.

    • Stuntman06

      The point of this is that it opens the door to third party keyboards. There are a variety of them on Android that have different strengths. SwiftKey has the best prediction and auto correction that I have used (although iOS would stifle this ability somewhat). Swype has the best gesture typing capability. Kii has the landscape layout I like the most. If Fleksy doesn’t suit you, it would be nice to potentially be able to find something you like more.

  • rd0t

    Gestures on a keyboard? See BlackBerry 10 if you want it done right.

    • Bbrysucks

      Not a chance. The virtual keyboard is perfect example of what NOT to do with a virtual keyboard.

  • Tom

    It’s sad, CNET even had to write a GUIDE on how to transfer music to an iOS device without accidentally wiping the device’s library (due to the lack of usb storage mode which literally all the competitors and every dumbphone in the last 10 years have).

  • Bbrysucks

    This keyboard blows. In fact its actually worse than minimum and I didn’t think that was even possible.
    What the hell are they developing their word prediction from, Cuz it sucks donkey a*s.

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