FlexT9 and Dragon Creator Nuance Acquires Swype

FlexT9 and Dragon Creator Nuance Acquires Swype

Oct 7, 2011

Nuance, who are most well-known for their Dragon line of voice recognition products, have reportedly acquired Swype, creators of the well-known finger-tracing keyboard that comes preloaded on many phones. The price for Swype? A cool $100 million.

Note that Nuance makes the FlexT9 keyboard, which comes with its own finger-swiping mechanism. Thus, this makes the buyout even more confusing. The most likely hypothesis behind this acquisition, beyond unfounded speculation over legal wrangling, may go as this: Nuance wants to get close with the manufacturers the way that Swype has been doing. Swype has deals to put their keyboard in stock installations of many Android phones. Because Nuance offers their own speech to text software that FlexT9 uses, one way to drastically increase the usership of this over a competitor like Google would be to get their service used by millions of Android owners by default, by getting their product in Swype.

What this means for the future of the two products FlexT9 and Swype is unclear; will FlexT9 absorb Swype’s tracing, hopefully combining it with FlexT9’s typing keyboard with superior autocorrect? Will FlexT9 be abandoned for a Swype with Dragon voice support? Some entirely different fate altogether? Questions abound, and time will show what the future of both keyboards will be.

Source: This is my Next

FlexT9 Review

FlexT9 Review

May 25, 2011

As it turns out, Swype isn’t the only way to trace out words on a software keyboard; there exists another option for doing this, in the FlexT9 keyboard. The ‘flex’ in FlexT9 comes from the flexibility that the keyboard provides; not only can letters be traced on the keyboard, they can be typed in, there’s speech-to-text support, and a handwriting recognition feature for single letters at a time. I initially only downloaded FlexT9 because it was temporarily free on the Amazon Appstore; I might not like the idea of devaluing apps by giving them away for free, but I will take advantage of them when offered! I started using it, just to test it out, and suddenly, I found that it was my regular keyboard.

There are two things that make FlexT9 a great keyboard, and superior to Swype. The first is the correction menu; Swype’s only pops up at certain times, even when set to appear more often, and it often appears in situations where the word is correct, so all it does is obscure already entered text. FlexT9 uses a facsimile of the default Android keyboard’s autocorrect, meaning that there’s a list that can be scrolled through for alternate entries. Words can also easily be added to the FlexT9 dictionary, and can be traced out as well. Tracing also handles duplicate letters better than Swype does, allowing users to just trace a letter in a word once if it appears consecutively in the word, and the helpful autocorrect makes this helpful. The ability to select a word, backspace, and have it call up the word’s autocorrect entries makes it even easier to use prop Second, FlexT9 as a standard typing keyboard works better than Swype does, especially because of the first reason – the autocorrect is just that much superior to Swype, and makes using FlexT9 a dream. I generally do just regular typing, but will occasionally trace more difficult words when necessary. Swype’s manual typing interface also often lead to typing looking weird and the wonky autocorrect made it just difficult to use; FlexT9’s adherence to the more traditional Android keyboard design makes it work just that much better.

Sometimes, FlexT9’s autocorrect’s list of alternate entries miss other, seemingly obvious spellings, making it tricky to type in some words. As well, it’s not possible to enter a word not in the dictionary and not have it added to it, like the default Android keyboard can do. Users who are familiar with Swype’s advanced features, like tracing upwards off of the keyboard to manually input an uppercase letter will find FlexT9’s lack of similar advanced gestures difficult to grasp at first. The handwriting recognition is largely just a waste of time. There’s no way to access the settings from the keyboard, or to change the input method from the keyboard itself.

FlexT9’s autocorrect feature, and the ability to use trace typing without sacrificing usability of traditional typing is what makes it great. However, if there’s no need for trace typing at all, then it may be hard to recommend that users spend $4.99 on a mildly superior autocorrect. However, for fans of trace typing that find Swype lacking, FlexT9 is a great choice, and it has become my regular keyboard of choice.