I’ve been a loyal SwiftKey user ever since it launched, and the Android replacement keyboard has been getting better constantly since its first release.
After ending the latest beta, with the introduction of Emoji character support and new features like an always-on row of numbers, the great news is SwiftKey is now totally free to download.
It’s great news for all those who want an improved keyboard, but perhaps felt it a bit off to actually have to pay for one. (iOS users will also be able to get in on the act with the release of SwiftKey for iOS 8 too).
Sure, the free Google keyboard is pretty good – and there are many others too – but I’ve got a soft spot for SwiftKey and its overall simplicity.
But simple doesn’t mean basic, as there’s the cloud feature that will sync all of your personalised predictions, as well as seek out trending terms, check for words unique to you (in your emails, Facebook posts, Tweets etc), plus give you selectable keyboard sizes and layouts to suit smaller and larger screens, and tablets.
All this means that, frankly, the competition is really going to have to up its game to compete from now on.
The decision to go free has been made because from now on, users have the ability to select from loads of custom themes. And here’s where you might find what some will consider to be the ‘gotcha’.
Although the existing themes that have been in SwiftKey for months are still free, new themes will now come at a cost.
This could mean that anyone wanting a fresh new look from time to time could end up spending more money than if they’d just bought the keyboard – but that’s the way the whole industry is going, right or wrong.
Free app. £5 for some themes? No problem. Kerching!
Naturally, nobody has to buy any paid-for theme, and as long as you aren’t invited to buy a new theme every time you open the keyboard, I’m cool with it.
And I’m serious here. I really don’t want to be receiving notifications every time there’s a new theme released. I don’t want my inbox filled with new themes, or being told about special offers where I can buy every theme ever made for a special one-off $100 hit.
I’m not the only one worried about that either…
@jmcomms Wonder if you'll get pop-ups, notifications & ads on keys nagging you to buy new themes! Eg letter "C" like a Coca Cola"C" etc!
— Stuart Arnott (@MindingsStu) June 11, 2014
At the end of the day, SwiftKey is now accessible to everyone with an Android device (and soon iOS 8) and that’s all that matters. There’s little point me writing a review of the app, or its newest features, as the best advice is to go and download it to try for yourself.
If it doesn’t work out for you, just switch back to whatever you’re using today.
Android users can download the new free SwiftKey here.