Swype 1.5 drops the beta tag, hits Google Play for 99 cents

We joke that Gmail holds the record for the most drawn-out test phase, but Swype comes close: the keyboard replacement has been considered a work in progress on various platforms since before Android devices hit the streets, and well after it started shipping with phones. The developers at Nuance are a little braver as of today, as they're launching Swype 1.5 for Android without any kind of beta label attached -- they really, truly consider it done. Mind you, there won't be a huge difference versus recent betas. The 1.5 update adds a quick shortcut to Dragon Mobile Assistant for those who have it installed, expands Living Language to 20 dialects, adds two new themes and refines both Smart Touch and Smart Reselect.

It's where you can get Swype 1.5 that may be the biggest change. For the first time, Swype is launching as a straightforward Google Play download that should support the same easy installs and upgrades as most Android releases. Unfortunately, that also means a price tag for the store edition. Nuance is charging 99 cents on Google Play for a "limited time" before a price increase, so we'll have to shell out if we want to take the easier path. The beta program remains intact, however -- and when Swype is at least temporarily undercutting SwiftKey on pricing, we'd consider spending some cash.

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Nuance Announces Availability of Swype on Google Play

Latest Version of Swype, the World's Most Powerful Learning, Living Keyboard
Launches for $0.99

Burlington, MA – April 24, 2013 – Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) today announced, based on incredible consumer demand, that it has launched the latest version of its successful living, learning Swype keyboard for Android smartphones and tablets on the Google Play Store. Swype was the first to deliver keyboards with continuous touch innovation, and has since reached more than 500 million users worldwide. And now Swype is easier than ever to download for just $0.99, for a limited time. A 30-day free trial is also available.

Swype is the most personal, powerful and customizable four-in-one keyboard for Android, allowing people to quickly glide their finger from one letter to the next to input text – or simply tap, speak or handwrite letters, numbers and symbols. Swype is a living, learning keyboard that continuously updates each user's personal language model with the words and phrases they use the most – and with opt-in connected services you can also get the words and phrases trending around the world through the power of crowdsourcing. And Swype can follow a user from one device to another with Backup and Sync – so it is the only keyboard people ever need.

"Swype was a game changer when first unveiled, and ever since, it has continued to set the bar for intuitive and intelligent keyboard innovation – so much so that others have tried to follow," said Mike Thompson, executive vice president and general manager, Nuance Mobile. "Based on the incredible success of our beta program and our vocal customers, we decided to extend the power of Swype to more Android users through Google Play. Android users deserve the best keyboard – settling for an alternative is no longer necessary."

Over the last year, Nuance researched text input preferences and usage styles of Swype users. By analyzing millions of input patterns, the team identified four distinct keyboard personas. The latest version of Swype incorporates these learnings to deliver a keyboard specifically designed to adapt to the keyboard personalities:

Swype'r: Swype's success is based on its core Swype algorithm and advanced language models –it has set the bar and others have followed. Swype'rs quickly and easily move from one letter to the next, and combined with XT9, Swype predicts words and phrases as they input text making it the fastest input experience available.

Typer: The Typer uses both hands and enters text as fast as possible without paying much attention to the screen until the end of the sentence. But Typers will not sacrifice accuracy with Swype's XT9 Sloppy Type algorithms and Smart Touch, which adjusts to typing styles based on where fingers hit the screen. And Swype's Smart Editor is an added bonus as it suggests edits based on the entire sentence.

Tapper: The Tapper is methodical and precise and often looks back and forth between the keyboard and the output, making extensive use of Swype's word completion and next word prediction. Swype has the most robust language models that predict even the longest commonly used phrases. For example, the phrase "Dancing with the Stars" will appear as an entire phrase just as soon as the word "Dancing" is tapped.

· Dictator: Dictators love the ability to quickly and easily speak their text with the power of Dragon, just by hitting the Dragon flame on the Swype keyboard. Dragon offers incredible flexibility when multitasking, hands-busy, or simply on the go.

Swype for Google Play also features:

* Expanded Living Language Dialect Support – Swype's Living Language now adds support for over 20 dialects. For Swype users in Australia, Swype automatically loads local words like lollies (candy), arvo (afternoon), and brekky (breakfast).
* Smart Touch – Smart Touch adjusts to each user's personal input patterns. If a person consistently taps between G & H, but usually wants G, Swype will learn and adapt, so G is selected each time.
* Smart Reselect – When a user reselects a word for editing, Swype's Smart Editor technology enables the device to consider the words before and after allowing for better replacement options.
* Dragon Mobile Assistant – For Swype users that have both Nuance's Dragon Mobile Assistant and Swype, gliding their finger from the Swype key to the Dragon flame will provide quick and easy access to the powerful personal mobile assistant app for Android. Dragon now features unique proactive assistant and location sharing capabilities, making it easier than ever to find and meet up with friends, get automatically dialed into your next conference call, and hear text messages read aloud as they come in.
* New Keyboard Themes – Swype now has 13 keyboard themes with the addition of our new Holo and Artic designs.

With unmatched accuracy, predictive text, personalized experiences, crowd-sourced language models in real time, all across devices – Swype continues to be the best keyboard for Android.

Availability

Swype is now available for download on Google Play with a limited time price of $0.99. To learn more, visit http://www.nuance.com/landing-pages/products/swype/.

For those interested in remaining part of the beta program for new upcoming Swype features, visit http://beta.swype.com.

Some items listed are opt-in connected features and are not required to use the Swype learning, living, keyboard. They include crowd-sourced updates (living language dialect support), hot words, backup and sync, and Dragon Dictation.

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Swype 1.5 drops the beta tag, hits Google Play for 99 cents