Sep 10, 2010
Ah touchscreens. We love them, yet we hate typing on them. Since before the days of Palm Pilot, developers have been thinking up creative ways to get text in to small screens. Recently, a certain type of input has become really hotâ€”that is tracing your finger along an on-screen qwerty instead of tapping on individual keys. And for Android, there is only one of these available…in the Market. It’s called SlideIT, and while it has some stiff competition in the space, it really hold its own as an innovative and convenient way to get your thoughts from brain to screen.
The great thing about using SlideIT is that it really does amaze you at its effectiveness. Slide from â€œpâ€ to â€œrâ€ and back to â€œyâ€ and the word “pretty” appears in a list that looks just like the candidate list in the stock Android keyboard. When you scribble the next word, you automatically get a space between the two.
SlideIT is very accurate, that is, if you are too. If you are sloppy, it only sometimes realizes your mistake. However, I found my self often getting a perplexing â€œ??â€ when my scribbles where unintelligible. This can be especially frustrating with longer words. I tried at least four times to get â€œridiculousâ€ right…to no avail. I find the error correction on the stock keyboard much better.
This is where SlideIT struggles. You have to go into the symbols/numbers section to get anything beyond period and comma. Also, there is no auto space after a period, requiring me to do some pretty tedious editing at times. Double tap space for a period is also a no-go. There are so many keyboards with creative ways to easily access these characters. Step up your game SlideIT!
SlideIT does have the much-loved feature of text shortcuts. Swipe from â€œaâ€ all the way to â€œkâ€ and a green â€œAAKâ€ will pop up in the candidate list. Tap it and you get â€œasleep at the keyboard.â€ These shortcuts are numerous and customizable. I imagine if you spend some time memorizing these you can really fly through texts. It’s not really for me, but I’m sure some people will really love it.
SlideIT also has a â€œlearningâ€ user dictionary. For example if you type in an email address and save it, the next time you swipe it, you can omit the â€œ@â€ and â€œ.â€ and it will recognize it in full.
SlideIT definitely stands on its own as a viable input option. However, it’s stiff price (Â£5.99) and peculiarities could definitely deter some, especially when Swype is just a Google search away. However for the more law abiding folks, SlideIT will definitely make an impression and perhaps give you enough reason to quit your tapping and get sliding.