While stock Android keyboards have vastly improved in the last year or two, there are still some extremely popular third-party replacements available in the Play Store. SwiftKey has long been at the top of the heap when it comes to Android input, and it has just gotten a major update that unifies the phone and tablet apps while also adding some much needed features.
SwiftKey uses deep learning of a user's typing style to predict words much more aggressively than other keyboards. It plugs into your Google account via the Google+ sign-on system to analyse the phrasing in sent emails, but can also pull from Twitter and Facebook posts if you like. There is a potential creep factor, but the results are impressive.
Like many other keyboards, SwiftKey has swiping input, in this case called Flow. However, you don't even have to lift your finger between words—just drag down to the spacebar, then on to the first letter of the next word. This all ties into the above-average word prediction engine running behind the scenes for a very good typing experience.
With the new update, the tablet version of SwiftKey is no more. There is now just one app that works for all devices. The default view for the tablet implementation is fairly standard, but it also has a split view and compact, where all the keys are shifted to one side for easier single-hand typing on a tablet.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the update is the ability to undock the keyboard and slide it up and down the screen to a more comfortable location. The compact UI can even be moved like a floating window any place on the screen. This actually makes swiping input incredibly fast on a tablet — the full keyboard stretched out to fill the screen is just too big.
SwiftKey is just £1.49 in Google Play, and it's definitely worth checking out.
It's also been a good few weeks for Swiftkey, with them picking up two gongs at the Appsters Awards 2013 last month.