back to article Nuance Flext9

Once you have used a letter-trace keyboard like Swype or SlideIT, there really is no going back to one-letter-at-a-time typing. Sadly, Swype is only available fitted to certain phones at source but Nuance - of Dragon speech-to-text fame - has cooked up an equivalent that’s available to anyone with a handset running Android 2.1 …


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  1. SynicNZ

    I love this app, except

    That like all speech enabled apps the size is huge. Running in at 10Mb + and no App2SD its just too big.

    So like flash 10.1 (version indicative of the space required) its uninstalled despite being a great app.

  2. Greg Kerr


    The Swype beta was closed for a long time but is now open again so it can be got for free.


    1. Steve Evans

      Re: Swype

      I was just about to say the same thing. I've only recently got my 'droid, and one of the first stops was Swype... Sign up for the beta, and there you go!

      Brilliant... Makes me wonder why I bought a Desire Z with a really keyboard now! lol!

  3. JDX Gold badge


    So this trace thing, is that the first serious innovation in actually using a touch-screen rather than re-implementing existing ideas on a medium they weren't designed for? Pinch-zooming would count too but that is fairly minor in comparison to a new way of doing input. Seems like a case of "the simple ideas are the best"

  4. [Yamthief]
    Thumb Up

    A nice offering...

    ...but how many people will take the plunge when Swipe offers much of the same and is free of charge?

  5. foolonthehill
    Thumb Down


    "Swype is only available fitted to certain phones at source" - actually Swype has an just released a (second) beta, which is available to most Android phones...

  6. jaduncan


    Is the speech recognition done on the server or locally? I'm about to go off traveling, so being able to avoid data charges would be awesome.

  7. stuartnz

    Not "anybody"

    "that’s available to anyone with a handset running Android 2.1 or above" - Nope! I was excited when I read this because Swype is not available for my X10 Mini Pro, but nor, it turns out, is this app - "the app could not be found" was the drearily familiar message after scanning the code at the end of the article

  8. The Original Ash
    Thumb Up

    Looks good

    Currently a Swype user on Desire HD. Might look into this when the open Beta is over.

    Suggestions, you say? Why, I have many!

    - 3G Watchdog (Data tariff monitoring)

    - AppBrain App Market (Notice the QCode is an AppBrain link)

    - Dropbox

    - GMote / Unified Remote Control (Desktop PC remote control)

    - gStrings (instrument tuner app)

    - Handcent SMS (Awesome SMS / MMS messaging app)

    - WhatsApp (Instant Messaging over the internet)

    - Lookout (Security App)

    - Tricorder (Sensor data app)

    - Wifi Analyzer (Networking tool)

    - Vaulty (Secure storage)

    Just some of the few I use, some more specialist than others.

  9. johnnytruant


    has been in open beta for a while now, so available for most 'droid devices.

    Although Flext9 does look a bit better. Having been a user of Dragon in the past, I know how good Nuance's speech-to-text can be.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Bought, and instantly refunded.

    This lacks app2sd, which is pretty much unforgivable. My HTC Desire is pretty tight on base storage now, because too many apps won't install on SD, and it has got to the point where unless I put my foot down, I don't get enough space to update apps.

    So yeah, it might be nice, but until they make the minimal effort of providing app2sd, I won't be using it. This is a major issue for a lot of android users, and I am a bit surprised that the review didn't mention it (now is your cue to point out that it did, and I am going blind due to lack of coffee :D).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not for a keyboard

      "So yeah, it might be nice, but until they make the minimal effort of providing app2sd, I won't be using it."

      It would be stupid enabling Apps2SD on a keyboard, you wouldn't be able to use it when USB storage is mounted/not present.

      This is why live wallpapers etc. don't support it either.

      Other apps really do need to start enabling it though.

  11. Graham2

    You can download Swype...

    "Sadly, Swype is only available fitted to certain phones at source "

    Not quite true, it's not on the Android Marketplace but if you registered with the Swype beta you can download it. I got it onto my Desire that way.

  12. Tom Jasper

    El Reg Does and App of the Week for Android... Yay!

    Regarding the app itself, I fail to understand why companies new to the market don't release a time limited trials for anything over a dollar, especially for a keyboard....

    OK - market fed time limited trials are flawed in nature but it wouldn't be hard for the company to generate a phone-home and check expiry for a key tied to the gmail account

    The keyboard itself is interesting but I don't think I'll invest in that with less than a thousand downloads and no comments now that Android Market only has a fifteen minute refund...

    We watch and learn

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Neill Mitchell

    Run-of-the-mill single-tap text entry

    This is actually a very important feature that a lot of these predictive type keyboards miss off.

    Swype drives me mad when the word you are tapping in letter by letter is not in the dictionary. It pops up a box with ridiculous suggestions along with your typed in letters and you have to tap to select. This is especially bad when you are typing in a password as the the suggestion popup which also contains the password you've just tapped is visible to anyone sitting next to you. Flext9 just lets you individually tap the letters and numbers unhindered.

    My only beef is there is no trial version. So you've only got Google's ridiculous 15 minute refund window to decide whether you get on with it or not.

    1. Daf L


      It's optional in Swype, you can turn it off and it is usually better if you do.

      Swype's way of deleting a custom entered word annoy's me. If you are in tap-tap mode an dyou make a spelling mistake (such as when your beta period ends every few months) then the words get added to your dictionary and are annoying to remove.

      I would also love to have a macro function in Swype (maybe this one does) . E.g. I could stored my e-mail address as a slide from the "Swype Key" to the "a" key? that would make life so much easier.

  15. Tom7

    HTC Hero

    Couldn't get this to install on an HTC Hero.

  16. Steverh
    Thumb Up

    Works for me!

    I took a chance on this. Installed Ok on my Nexus One and I did a quick test within 15 minutes so I bought it.

    The speech recognition seems to be done locally and is awesomely accurate. Just don't pause for too long as it will process and exit - I will probably keep this switched off and use manual exit. The keyboard swiping also looks good.

    The point about installing to the SD card is a good one, hopefully this will be addressed at some stage.

  17. Saucerhead Tharpe

    I miss Graffitti

    And the ability to do some proper writing on these things

    It would be nice if someone reinvented the Palm Pilot

    1. jaduncan

      It's in the market

      There's a graffiti keyboard, and by Access no less.

    2. noodle heimer

      Don't miss graffiti, use it

      Probably the third thing I hunted up once I got the color nook was graffiti.

      It's early days yet, but the nook may finally be a useable replacement for my TX.

      B-folders to migrate over the contact database. Graffiti for input. NewsRob for avantgo-like offline newsreading ability (based on a synchout to Google Reader.)

      Also, I'm buying apps. NewsRob and Graffiti were no brainers. I want to encourage this community.

      This keyboard certainly looks worth checking out , though.

  18. sellnosoup


    Thanks for the article - I like the idea of an "Android App of the Week" series :)

    "...the intelligent Search/Go/Done button"?? That is not a feature! - it is a requirement! When you develop an Android application that makes use of input boxes, you can specify an input action (done, go, search, send...)

    It was the developers of the original applications who had the 'intelligence' to add that option, not the intelligence of the keyboard.

    Apps2SD: for a keyboard? are you kidding me? what happens when you's SD card is mounted over USB? what will you do to type? (maybe Android is clever enough to swap to another IME?)

    As far as I know - most voice-recog input for keyboards are routed through Google's services, but this is from the dragon-speaking people, so maybe it's their own service...

    "Couldn't get this to install on an HTC Hero" - if you look at the supported devices for this keyboard, it seems it requires a phone with a higher resolution screen. This is the same problem Swype has on the Wildfire... this eliminates a number of gen1 and cheaper Android phones.

    @Neill Mitchell- yeah, Swype's tap-tap input is terrible!

  19. John H Woods Silver badge

    Dic too big...

    I bet that's why the app is too big. Most people use 5000 words maximum - Swype and T9 dictionaries (and all spell-check dictionaries) should be small (say 10k words) and extensible. Only crossword solving dictionaries and their ilk need to be huge.

    For instance, I was outraged recently to have Swyped 'tine' rather than 'time'. How many fucking times do you want to discuss fork prongs in SMS? It is much, much better to confirm the occasional use of a word outside the top-frequency list than it is to accept mis-spellings because they happen to be obscure or archaic words.

    Place names especially should not be present in such dictionaries. Although I have to say that Swype does give you a better class of typo. As I wrote last week - this is Tuscaloosa (Ridiculous).

  20. batfastad
    Jobs Horns

    QR codes

    Can we stop our sudden fascination with QR codes now please?

    I mean they were cool and techy and Japanese and stuff 5 years ago, but now they are just really really annoying. Really annoying.

    Maybe use the alt attribute in the image tag to display the URL, rather than having it exactly the same as the title attribute. Or maybe just make a website link to the page you intended in addition.

    1. Rattus Rattus

      QR codes are useful

      If you're reading this story on your PC as most people will rather than on your phone, it's nice & convenient to just snap a photo of the QR code and go straight to the app rather than either

      (A) Open Market, type in name of app, swear under your breath, type in *correct* name of app, scroll through list and choose it; or

      (B) Open web browser, go to El Reg, find this story, find link to app, click it.

      1. batfastad


        My point is that to not have the link in a human readable format in addition, is idiotic.

        1. Scott A. Brown


          It's at the top and bottom of the article next to where it says 'More Info'

  21. Richard Gray 1
    Thumb Up

    Great App

    I bought this on the strength of this review and I think it is pretty awesome, especially the voice. Cracking to text the missus you'll be late on hands free.

    Also checkout Green Power Free. this disables wireless and internet for periods while your phone is locked. My power usage went from 1/3 left at home time to over 8/10 full.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I loathe Swype

    I may be in the minority here, but I hate, hate, hate Swype with a living passion, I found it fiddly and horrible to use on my Samsung Galaxy S compared to the default Samsung keyboard, never got round to swapping it back as the phone got returned PDQ due to a horrifically poor battery life and terrible reception despite Orange claiming they had excellent coverage in the area I was living at the time....yeah right.

    Traded down to a Nokia 2730 to get decent battery life back and hopped back to O2 in the process to get good coverage (more than 2 foot from a window :P)

  23. JaitcH

    Nuance makes great software such as ...

    Dragon Dictation which, in it's latest iteration, spends much of it's time learning even from your typed corrections

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