back to article RIP, Swype: Thanks for all the sor--speec--speedy texting

One of the best-loved mobile apps of the past decade, Swype, has been given the bullet. Parent company Nuance confirmed it will no longer develop the letter-tracing keyboard, which will disappear from the Apple and Google app stores. Swype was developed by one of the inventors of T9 predictive text, Cliff Kushner, and was …

  1. tiggity Silver badge

    tips & corrections

    you need a non email method to tasie them!

    "Nuance would subsequently bundle Skype with its own Dragon voice dictation system."

    Surety Swype not Skype...

    Mods.. feel free to delete this comment when typo fixed!

    1. Ben Rose

      Re: tips & corrections

      If we're playing sub-editor:

      "It appeared first appeared on Windows Mobile, but versions appeared"

      needs revisions. It surely only appeared once?

    2. Steve Button

      Re: tips & corrections

      Funny my literal brain read that and thought "What's that got to do with this story?" and didn't realise it was a typo.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: tips & corrections

      Is it me or does this article need rewriting anyway...

      Article on El Reg says they are discontinuing both Apple and Android versions, yet the announcement they link to only says:

      "We are sad to announce that Swype-Keyboard for iOS has been discontinued."

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: tips & corrections

        XDA Developers got a reply from Nuance confirming Android as well.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: tips & corrections

          Thanks - real shame as it's the only keyboard I use on Android phones and tablets

          1. geekguy

            Re: tips & corrections


          2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

            Re: tips & corrections

            Agreed. GBoard is bloody dreadful by comparison, mainly because it's so much easier to enter a new word in Swype.

    4. MrDamage

      Re: tips & corrections

      > "Surety Swype not Skype..."

      Beware Muphry's law when commenting on typos.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So if you bought it do you get a refund?

    1. Graham 32

      At very least a download of the last version so you can still use it. Pulling it from the app store removes access to those who paid for it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I bought it but stopped using it a while ago, too much slurp and yes the irony of using an Android phone is not lost on me though I am running cyanogenmod.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          As long as you're not running Google Play Services, if you have that you might as well be running full-fat Android.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "At very least a download of the last version so you can still use it. Pulling it from the app store removes access to those who paid for it."

        This is why I always save a copy of the APK too, I have a couple of apps that are no longer available, or I really, really don't like the newer versions but still need to install on another device or reinstall on a factory reset device. Particularly the XBMC remote control I prefer. All I want is a remote and I can switch off the little bling it does have. I don't need flashy thumbnails or access to the library or "currently playing" screens/displays. I can see/do all that on the screen where I'm actually watching the damned show. But XBMC Remote is not just discontinued, it's gone from the Play Store. Likewise Kingsoft Office (now WPS office). I don't need all the extra crap that comes with the new version, nor the additional key press to exit every time where the new ones don't exit the app, but go back to a screen where you can open recent documents, nor the extra "skip" button t get past the opening "brand awareness" screen.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You've GOT to be kidding me

    So what is it exactly that I am supposed to use now? Google Keyboard? Even leaving aside the fact I am not exactly fond of the idea of the Big G knowing everything I type, one of Swype's killer features for me has been the ability to input bilingual text - which I think Google Keyboard still does not support.

    (grumbles, makes multiple redundant copies of his Titanium Backup backup of Swype and its data files - should probably download a buttload of additional languages while the data files are still available - and wonders if SwiftKey is now any better than it used to be when you still had to pay for it)

    1. cupperty

      Re: You've GOT to be kidding me

      I just upgraded from Swiftkey to Swype. The latter is far better at prediction. Sad day ...

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: You've GOT to be kidding me

      WRIO Keyboard has bilingual text and isn't slurpy.

      None of the AOSP-based keyboards or Gboard manage to move the cursor, select, or copy-paste text in a way which isn't painful to use.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You've GOT to be kidding me

        WRIO looks like a complete joke. What is the point of larger keys? I want to swipe, not type. And I'm really convinced by the words magically appearing so quickly in the YouTube video. Really convinced.

    3. geekguy

      Re: You've GOT to be kidding me


      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: You've GOT to be kidding me


    4. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: You've GOT to be kidding me

      "I think Google Keyboard still does not support."

      I use Gboard, mainly because it can be themed to be dark, unlike the default Samsung keyboard.

      It is quite happy with English and French input, at the same time. The only catch is if switching languages mid sentence, you may have to spell out the first word so the autocorrect/suggestions know it's changed.

  4. SquidEmperor

    Preductive Sex

    I sink this is a grape idea. Lesbian nest the tick knowledge gee four pre dick up skirt is pretty well purr tickle now.

    1. Phil Endecott

      Re: Preductive Sex

      Please may I borrow your predictive training data?

      1. Oengus

        Re: Preductive Sex

        Better yet... Will you pay me to provide input data for your predictive training data??

  5. druck Silver badge

    At least it wont get any worse

    I've been using Swype since day one on my first Galaxy S(1), and loved it. However, I found each release has got slightly worse at picking the right word, which is very frustrating. It's still better than standard keyboards, and at least it wont get any worse.

    1. Trilkhai

      Re: At least it wont get any worse

      I saw the same deterioration with SwiftKey — in Android 2.3 it had an amazing ability to know which word I meant & predict the next one, but the accuracy really deteriorated over time... I finally stopped using it a few months ago out of sheer frustration; even Gboard does a better job now.

  6. David Neil
    Thumb Down


    I've almost got it nailed down in learning my swear words. Been a long time user and have no intention of losing it - I'll be taking a backup.

  7. Mage Silver badge

    Familar pattern

    Big company buys in innovative thingy.

    Development stutters. Sometimes later versions worse or unchanged (Paint Shop Pro, Visio, Skype, Pebble, Mobi-reader, Glen-Dimplex buying Roberts etc, Harvard then Argos with Bush/Murphy, Flarion bought by Qualcomm)

    Big company loses interest and kills it.

    1. Zola

      Re: Familar pattern

      Don't forget Logitech killing Slim Devices. W@nkers.

    2. Orv

      Re: Familar pattern

      See also the long, slow death of WinAmp.

      1. paulf

        Re: Familar pattern

        @ Orv "See also the long, slow death of WinAmp."

        That was truly sad and it's kinda happened again as the new owner has spent something like three years getting ready to re-launch Winamp "soon (sic)". It was an even more sad day when Gracenote terminated access to CD info for the ripping engine.

        I'm still using the last version 5.666 on all my machines - as a background music player it's still the best for me.

        1. Orv

          Re: Familar pattern

          I switched to MusicBee, which doesn't have the nostalgia value but is similarly simple and does what I need a music player to do.

  8. Gene Cash Silver badge

    One simple difference...

    The big thing (for me) about Swype vs GBoard or SwiftKey is that it put up more than 3 predictions. I could usually scroll the prediction strip a bit and find what I wanted.

    GBoard and SwiftKey put up 3 choices, one of which is usually just a copy of what you're typing.


    GBoard has however improved the layout and other things in the past couple years since I started using Swype. SwiftKey has not, however. They've just sat there.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: One simple difference...

      "one of which is usually just a copy of what you're typing"

      Is it really only me that finds it incredibly useful to have the thing that I typed appear as an option for what to insert?


      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: One simple difference...

        "Is it really only me that finds it incredibly useful to have the thing that I typed appear as an option for what to insert?"

        Nope. Most of what I type is part codes and technical terms. I switch predictive text off. Likewise auto-capitalisation of sentence starters which tends to mis-capitalise when when using a full stop other than at the end of sentence etc. Like this.

      2. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: One simple difference...

        > Is it really only me that finds it incredibly useful to have the thing that I typed appear as an option for what to insert?

        Nope, because you've already typed it in the text field. So it's a useless duplication.

  9. Neill Mitchell

    Is it me, or do all smartphone keyboards totally suck? I've yet to find one that does not provide the most grammatically ridiculous suggestions imaginable. The predictive tech doesn't seem to have moved on at all in 5 years. I still spend more time swearing and correcting than actually typing useful sentences on my phone.

    Can't wait for my Gemini to arrive.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      All rubbish

      Actually painfull sometimes using whatsapp.

      Best predictive text I have used is the playstation messaging system

    2. BrownishMonstr

      I honestly liked the keyboard on Windows phone, moving to iOS for obvious reasons meant having to find an alternative since Microsoft scrapped their own keyboard on non Windows platforms. SwiftKey despite being owned by Microsoft isn't a like for like alternative.

    3. Adam 1

      just you

      I am personally thrilled with precocious Tex. It does exactly what I try to toe. You guys are just total webinars

  10. Barry Rueger

    Blackberry KB

    Google for the APK. For my purposes it's just dandy. Generally actually predicts what I want, and learns fast.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why type....

    ...when I'm alone I almost always use Google Voice Typing, it is much quicker, probably about 80% accurate and seems to now understand my Glaswegian accent, though it stil has problems with 'girl'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why type....

      It's more like 95% accurate if you're 'Murican. Or at least if you sound like one.

      1. Toastan Buttar

        Re: Why type....

        Glaswegian accent, trying to sound like an American so voice recognition software will work?


        1. Gordon M

          Re: Why type....

          Aye, it's a classic, innit?

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Why type....

      > when I'm alone

      I'm usually in a restaurant, meeting, someone's cube, or otherwise somewhere I'd look like a complete git if I started dictating to my phone, so the "voice key" is useless for me.

  12. BlueTemplar

    Fuck you very much !

    "We’re sorry to leave the direct-to-consumer keyboard business, but this change is necessary to allow us to concentrate on developing our AI solutions for sale directly to businesses,” wrote Nuance."

    Translation : "We've slurped all the personal data we need so that we can now sell it for a hefty sum. So long, suckers!" /jk

    More seriously, isn't this a bit like Google stopping to read our e-mails in gmail, because they have more than enough information to train their AIs, and that's where they expect all the money will be in the future ?

  13. Jimbali


    Nightmare. None of the imitations are anywhere near as good. Might as well just chuck my phone in the bin now.

  14. doublelayer Silver badge

    If fleksy keyboard still exists

    I'd recommend the fleksy keyboard to people who like touch typing. I've beta tested it for a while, and although they broke some functionality that was key to me, told me they weren't going to fix it but that they'd open source it so I could do so myself, then left me and their offer behind, I understand that the keyboard still exists and probably still has their pretty good prediction from touch typing. If they haven't shoved too much emoji/gif nonsense in there, it's probably still good.

  15. Scott 26


    If we have it installed today, can we keep using it? (Android version).

    Going to be hard to go back to google's version of swype :(

  16. roblightbody

    I can type effortlessly with Swype, and find the Google keyboard a very poor imitation. I'm depressed at this news!

    Typed on Swype.

  17. Gordon M

    Well, a quick check of Google Play shows that Swype may be missing from “Apps”, but for me it is still available under “My apps”, so I *should* still be able to install it on my next device. And if all else fails, I guess I can side-load the APK – wow, haven’t done that since the beta! Very sad to see development stop, I still think it’s the best keyboard available. Pity they haven’t spun the keyboard out and sold it, but I guess there’s too much Dragon IP embedded in it…

    1. Solanum

      Thank you! I reset my phone the day they pulled it from the Play store (I hadn't seen the announcement) and it was gone when I tried to install it. Swiftkey is terrible in comparison and Gboard isn't much better. I now have it reinstalled from "my library". Phew!

  18. John F***ing Stepp

    What I use

    When I went from using a pc to a tablet, I found out that I would have to learn hunt and peck typing; which was not going to work. So I found this nifty MessagEase thing that everybody else seems to hate (and no one borrows the tablet).

    I am still not to the point where I can 'think' the words in (touch typing) but the tablet is going to last longer (there is only so many times they will survive being thrown out a window).

    1. Evil_Goblin

      Re: What I use

      What I want as an accessory is a bluetooth candybar style keyboard with T9.

      I was ridiculously quick with T9 on the old 3310 back in the early 2000s. Could do it one handed, by touch, when drunk. It even go to the stage that I would remember how many times I needed to cycle through the combinations on common words and phrases to get to the ones I wanted.

  19. PaulR79

    Downhill with Nuance

    When Nuance took over I was prepared for bad things. The first feature to go / change was one I relied on a lot. It was the loop gesture that confirmed you wanted two of whatever letter you were looping on. I know it's still there but in the past it was the clear distinction between "lose" and "loose" because if I didn't loop I got lose as the prediction.

    Now I can still do the loop but even if I don't I will get the double letter prediction first almost exclusively. It's a small thing but it impacts on usability negatively. They could have made it a toggle but no they just removed it and went with the standard autocorrection method. It hasn't been the same since and I hate that because it was so good.

    I've used Swype, SwiftKey, GBoard and non-swipe keyboard Fleksy. Fleksy is good but I got too lazy to type out messages one-by-one.

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