I would have thought this would be concentrated in the Vatican rather than the US.
Faciam me tunica mea
If ever there was a company that found itself in the right place at the right time, it's TouchType - the team behind SwiftKey. The firm is one of Britain's most successful tech startups: it says its intellectual property is used in 100 million phones and that its SwiftKey software was last year's best-selling program in the …
Just gone from a resistive touchscreen to a capacitive and hate the change. While one is more responsive, the other seemed more accurate. I miss the accuracy. :(
Most touch devices are annoying. I would see this kind of tech as trying to solve a problem created by moving to touch, instead of trying to remove the problem all together. Hopefully new interactivity such as LeapMotion will make input more accurate again.
(Esc, because the keyboard is best for typing. ;) )
I know what you mean.
Whilst modern smartphones have far more power than my old capacitive screened mobile, I do miss the ability to accurate tap with a fingernail. With a capacitive you can't, you have to use the huge squidgy end of your finger, which immediately obstructs the view of whatever it is you are trying to press!
I was thinking more of the predictive text capabilities - I don't imagine it downloads a dictionary of all the world's languages onto my phone, so must rely on a database somewhere in the 'cloud'. Without these capabilities, I can't believe its recognition of my vague swirls over the keyboard is going to be very accurate.
Why would it need a dictionary of all the world's languages? It just needs the common words of whatever languages you routinely use, plus whatever non-standard words you use. To achieve this, when you install it, it lets you select languages to download (English (UK) and nothing else results in an app ~30MB in size, a piffling amount), and it then goes one step further and asks you for access to your facebook/email/whatever else to look at your past typing history.
That's the main reason it appears to be so psychic. Instead of having to train itself over time with use, as its competitors do (or mostly don't), most users give it access to an enormous training set. The magic of Bayes's theorem means that the set itself doesn't actually have to be stored, only the resulting word->word probability values, which can be updated on the fly. Given a large enough training set to start with, this results in a very fast, very accurate predictor of what you're going to type next, without an enormous storage footprint.
I slagged off Swiftkey last time it was discussed on here... Something must have gone wrong the first time I installed it because I recently tried it again and I couldn't have been more wrong to dismiss it. Psychic is the word - it is so much better than anything else I've tried. Definitely worth a couple of quid.
The really excellent thing about Swiftkey 4 is that the 'flow' swiping and the tap tap tap typing both work together seamlessly so you can switch between them in mid sentence or even mid word in some cases.
I started using the beta a few weeks ago having been using Swiftkey since it first came out, then after a couple of days tried the flow method and haven't looked back. For some reason I couldn't get on with Swype, but this is just magic.
I have whatever software comes with the Resurrection Remix ROM on my S2, but it seems to do the same swipey thing and it's very good for a small screen.
I tried some swipey keyboard on my Nexus 7 and it was far too energetic because of the screen size.
For two handed typing on larger screens, I can't recommend Hacker Keyboard enough, especially when using the tablet for RDP as the keyboard layout is the same as a standard keyboard and very quick to type on.
I would have been with you on that but for me this still needs some work - unlike Swype or FlexT9 it's not very good on words with doubled letters or where swiping through letters gives an alternative word - it's always gives me "point" when I mean "pint" making it almost completely useless for the normal sort of messages I send.
Things have been improving through the betas though so it is well worth trying the final version to see how you get on.
I love when things I think we really ought to have invented become available.
I remember when I first laid hands on a Nokia 3210, back in '99, and as was the fashion those days, took it apart (only by prizing off the plastic covers and removing the battery) to see what was inside.
My immediate reaction then was to think that at that point the size of the phone was now dictated purely by the need to have a reasonably sized keyboard and display for the user. Whereas prior to that the majority of phones would have had their dimensions dictated by the amount of space necessary to fit everything inside and the humongous battery.
Nearly a decade and a half later and we still build phones that are based on the idea that we need a full keyboard to enter text with one, two if you're less patient, thumbs. Guys like these will change that, maybe not these particular fellows. Some sort of natural language processing combined with predictive algorithms should make it possible to speed up the input rates possible by use of a single or small number of digits.
Combined with some sort of discreet projection device to display images directly on to the retina and soon the bricks that we carry about in our pockets will become practically invisible to others.
As for the input device itself; transparent, conductive surfaces on the fingers, easily applied, connected to a base station wristband or whatever seems appropriate.
Hmm, must return to the present moment now...
There was an accessibility keyboard feature ages back for linux, where you kind of flew through to the next most likely letter.
Based on this a wheel, which predicts likely next letters (and so words) could be made to be smaller than a keyboard gui and get rid of the size restriction ....tiny small round phones anyone ?!
Swiftkey do have a habit of changing device compatibility. The original Galaxy Note would work with SwiftKey tablet for example, but following a SwiftKey 3 update the split keyboard would not work and I had to resort to using the common phone variety. Try the other version to see.
Very disappointing - I just looked on the Play Store, looking to update my SK3, and found the same thing. It's not like 4.2.2 happened suddenly, without warning. I don't know how TouchType could have missed this. They're now not on the radar for any N7 user with the latest firmware; that's a decent chunk of market gone.
Still, SK3 still seems to work, for those of us who already have it.
Icon: "You owe me a new keyboard." Soon would be nice.
So do I. With proper training, it feels like the bloody program reads in your mind. Almost scary.
My only gripe is about the two separate versions: phone and tablet. I'm sure there's no good technical reason for this. The same program could certainly handle both. It's more like a marketing trick to force people who have both a phone and a tablet to buy two licences.
Voice recognition is the obvious but not so easy way to go.
I'm mystified as to why voice recognition hasn't become the de facto standard. I hear a lot of faffing about by the men in white coats about voice being very difficult to interpret into words, but I'm pretty sure if money wasn't involved we'd have voice recognition systems far superior to the nonsense we have been supplied with so far.
Now, where's my -- hey, I said END MESSAGE.
WTF? No, I do not want to you to massage my arse, END MESSAGE!
Oh for crying out loud, I'll have to get my finger out...
Nope, voice recognition is hard because most people speak like idiots, slur words, um ah, and there is a lot of intuited context about the words such as taking the meaning from 'I scream', 'Ice cream' or 'Eyes cream'.
People think voice is easy as even the stupidest person can use voice. The reason it works is because you have a brain doing an immense amount of tricky processing getting it to work. Thats why voice, for the foreseeable future, will only ever have marginal improvement. No-one's come up with new tech in voice recognition for 20+ years, just improved CPUs mean they handle the search space better.
Direct text is a lot easier but still really difficult and it sounds like these guys have done a cracking job.
"People think voice is easy as even the stupidest person can use voice. The reason it works is because you have a brain doing an immense amount of tricky processing getting it to work."
For an estimate of just how much processing is involved, consider the fate of the novice language student who can understand the teacher (talking slowly and deliberately) but is flummoxed when confronted with a native speaker. Also consider that most experts reckon it actually becomes harder to learn a second language if you leave it too late because most of that tricky processing is actually burned into hardware and if you wait until your teens or later then this option isn't available to you.
And, as you point out, that's just the easy problem of parsing the stream of sound. Actually understanding enough context to resolve ambiguities is Hard(tm).
I still find talking to inanimate objects somewhat uncomfortable. On the very rare occasions that I've needed to make a call when driving I've prodded the appropriate button on the steering wheel and announced "Call <whoever>" and it does work (and keeps my hands on the car controls). Still don't like it though.
That's now in Android 4.2 for any device. It's not Swype - and after trying it for a bit, I went back to Swype.
A great thing about Swype is that you can press any word that's wrong and choose from alternatives, whilst the Android one only lets you do this for the last typed word (and typically I tend to type it all quick, then proof-read what I've written). (Anyone know if Swiftkey does this too?) Also I found that the guesses at what I'd swiped tended to be more accurate for Swype. A shame that Swype isn't in Google Play (not that downloading it elsewhere is a problem, but it's annoying to have to sign up with an email address, and it's in a perpetual beta state...)
Brilliant! When I installed it last year I was so surprised it knew about my home town, some backwater spit in Hertfordshire. Then after about 3 weeks of using it, it was almost as if it knew my mind when I started typing messages, obviously the algorithms they've got for scanning your language habits are pretty neat stuff!
I got a copy from Google when they had it on offer for 10p and so glad I did!
..for all those malapropisms and weird interpolations of something that is obviously the wrong word.
People blaming predictive text (e.g. for my wife becoming "Heavier" in texts) can't get away with some things that show they just can't spell, but now completely the wrong word can happily be blamed on the soffits.
In find auto-correction annoying and would rather have precise input in the first place.
"The Android development team had roots in devices with real physical QWERTY keyboards such as the Sidekick, and the very first Android device (the T-Mobile G1) had a physical keyboard, too. "
I think it's time we had a return to those roots. Unfortunately, device manufacturers, through their obsession with copying crApple, are no longer giving consumers this CHOICE. More devices like the Xperia Pro and Motorola Photon Q (in Europe!) please.
Yup. Specifically I want a proper, landscape, slide out QWERTY - I dislike Blackberry-style keyboards almost as much as onscreen ones. I don't care if it makes the phone thicker, or heavier (in fact fuck it, stick a nice big battery in there while you're at it) I just want a decent hardware keyboard.
This is a lie, at least if judged on external appearance, but I'm good with that..
However, at least with version 3 and it's forerunners, if you installed afresh without any history, opened a dialogue box and hit space repeatedly, that is what would be typed.
Kii Keyboard is, incidentally, also very good but doesn't (I think) have the ability to seed the Ngrams' with gmail, twitter and SMS sent messages.
Typed with my old clattery much abused desktop keyboard.
Touchtype is backed by venture capital: specifically Octopus Investments' "Titan" funds (who are paying me a chunky tax-free dividend next month from another successful investment).
They have an offer for subscription open right now: an opportunity to buy in to a share in Touchtype, along with about 50 other early-stage companies hoping for growth.
Swype, as has been mentioned, has a better "flow" than SwiftKey, especially with double letters. It also allows for a smaller width keyboard, which is best for me, as I usually work in landscape on my tablet (less finger travel).
However, SwiftKey's predictive process is the best for next word/phrase. It's recording function works for more than a sentence at a time, which is what you are restricted to in Swype. Both recorders are fairly accurate.
SwiftKey has a temporary price reduction. I think I'll buy.
and the number of Apple users who see me swyping ultrafast sentences and ask "is that available for my <insert apple device of choice>", to which I say "Sorry but Apple don't want anybody else to use a different keyboard other than their own - take it up with them, I'm sure they'll be very helpful"
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