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Swype keyboard app sheds beta tag, lands in Google Play

Nuance finally releases the Swype keyboard for Android in Google Play.

Almost three years after it became a free beta download for Android users, Nuance finally releases the Swype keyboard for Android in Google Play. The new app features Swype's popular drag-to-type feature, built-in Dragon dictation, and a personal dictionary that automatically adds popular new words from other Swype users.

Swype is available for devices running Android 2.2 and up, and is currently priced at $0.99. Nuance warns the low price is a limited time offer, but doesn't say when the offer will expire. If you've never tried Swype you can also download a 30-day trial for free. Nuance acquired Swype in 2011.

Swype was notable as one of the earliest software keyboards for smartphones and tablets that let you drag your finger across the keyboard to indicate words instead of tapping them out letter-by-letter. The idea was a revelation for smartphone users growing increasingly frustrated by cramped software keyboards that were a chore to type on.

Swype was originally sold to phone manufacturers as a baked-in solution for mobile phones, such as Motorola's first Droid device. But the novelty of Swype prompted the company to release a beta version of the keyboard open to any Android user knowledgeable enough to sideload apps.

Competitors

That was pretty much how Swype for Android existed for three years it finally entered Google Play on Wednesday. In the interim, however, a large number of alternative keyboards have beat Swype to general release.

Mobile World Congress in February was flooded with Android keyboard alternatives , including the TouchPal keyboard that offers similar features to Swype. Swype's most notable third-party rival is SwiftKey, which announced a drag-to-type featurelast fall and hit Google Play in February.

Swype also has to contend with Google's stock Android keyboard, which added a Swype-like feature starting with version 4.2, Jelly Bean.

But given Swype's popularity and its name recognition, it will probably do just fine against its competitors. Nuance hasn't said what the regular price for Swype might be after the $0.99 introductory offer ends. Swype rival SwiftKey is priced at $4.

Beyond Swype, Nuance recently added a new voice command feature to its Siri-like Dragon Mobile Assistance app for devices running Android 2.3.3 and up. The new voice-command feature allows you to assign the app a personalized wake-up word. Just speak the customized word into your Android device and the app will do your bidding. The next time you need to check the weather you could wake up your digital dragon with, "Dracarys!"


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