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Swype App Makes Texting on Android Phones a Breeze

Likely inspired by the masses of people obsessed with texting, Cliff Kushler, co-inventor of T9, has one-upped himself with the release of Swype, a text-entry app now available on Android phones. Appropriately named, Swype gives you the power to swipe words into existence instead of frantically pecking at your touchscreen. With only a single instance of finger-to-screen contact, you tap the first letter of the word, then glide over to the next letter and then the next, and release your finger when a word is complete.

The easy part is indeed the swiping, which works as well as advertised. However, adjusting to a new typing system's quirks (and Swype is chock full of them) is tricky. Swiping double letters, for instance, is hardly intuitive. Halting mid-swipe over the letter that needs to be doubled only kills Swype's chances of recognizing the word you are trying to type. Instead, you loop around the letter, informing Swype that you intend it to be doubled.

Once you've adjusted to the oddities, though, it's easy to forget that Swype is a third-party app, as it becomes so ingrained in the text-input aspects of the phone. The efficiency boost caused by Swype is hard to deny, and it's difficult to go back to any other method of text entry. The time it took to send a regular message was far shorter than it is with either T9 or multi-tap. Swype drastically outperformed both methods, and wrongly guessed our word of choice only a couple of times. Usually, unrecognized words were either slang or names. To fix this, tap in all of your favorite obscenities and proper nouns, and press the spacebar. Voila, your texting vocab just increased. Overall, given our sporadic scribblings, we forgave Swype for its only occasionally failed, yet always heroic, attempts at deciphering our chicken scratch.

The biggest downside, currently, is getting the app installed on your phone, as it is only available as a beta version from the Swype website. It takes far too much time to get the app up and running plus adjusting all of the settings to fit your needs. For now, it's a tedious download and install. Once the app is officially available via the Android Market, the process should prove far easier.

So, kudos to an app that cuts down on taps per text, and lets us shoot off even more nonsensically abbreviated messages.

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Tags: android, AndroidApp, features, handson, mobile, review, smartphone, swype, t9, texting, top



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