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Swype virtual Android keyboard finally lands on Google Play

After a lengthy beta phase, the Swype virtual keyboard has finally made its way to the Google Play store for Android devices.

Swype is currently priced at 65p and those looking to get their hands on the app can download it now There is also a free 30-day free trial version available for those who want to test it out.

Swype, which was acquired by Nuance in October 2011 for $102.5 million (£66.9m), attempts to facilitate typing on a touch-screen keyboard. Rather than just tapping virtual keys, you drag a finger across the Swype keyboard, and the app will predict what you're trying to write.

Swype first opened a limited beta in 2010, and was pre-loaded on a few phones over the years, but has never been available as a standalone download via Google Play until now.

Swype is described as a "living, learning keyboard," since it continually updates itself with the words and phrases you use most. You can also opt to get crowdsourced words and phrases that are trending around the world.

"Based on the incredible success of our beta program and our vocal customers, we decided to extend the power of Swype to more Android users through Google Play," Mike Thompson, executive vice president and general manager of Nuance Mobile, said in a statement. "Android users deserve the best keyboard — settling for an alternative is no longer necessary."

Swype currently has more than 500 million users worldwide, Nuance said. Over the past year, the team at Nuance has researched users' text input preferences and usage styles to perfect the app for its general release.

Based on this research, the latest version of Swype caters to four different keyboard personalities: the "Swype'r," or those who quickly swipe from one letter to the next; the "Typer," those who use both hands to rapidly enter text without looking at the output until they're nearly finished; the "Tapper," those who are precise and look back and forth between the keyboard and output as they type; and the "Dictator," those who like to speak their message using the app's Dragon dictation function.

The latest version of the app also features support for more than 20 dialects, and will automatically load local words like "lollies," apparently. There's also Smart Touch, a feature that adjusts to your specific input patters. If you often type an H instead of a G, for instance, the keyboard will learn to adapt. The app also now features 13 keyboard themes, including new Holo and Artic designs.