SwiftKey X virtual keyboard launches for Android tablets, we go hands-on (video)

We're no strangers to SwiftKey here at Engadget HQ, and today TouchType is launching a major new version of everyone's favorite Android virtual keyboard -- SwiftKey Tablet X for devices running Honeycomb, and SwiftKey X for devices running Android 2.x. Both applications improve upon the original by using TouchType's Fluency 2.0 artificial intelligence engine, a unique predictive phrase system which learns how you write. New features include cloud learning, which analyzes how you type in Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, and text messages to predict phrases in your style, plus keypress technology which continually monitors your typing precision and adapts the touch-sensitive area for each key to improve prediction accuracy. SwiftKey now supports 17 languages (with more coming soon) and is smart enough to interpret three languages at once. There's also a handful of other enhancements, including support for themes which allow users to customize the look and feel of the keyboard. And that split keyboard option we first encountered at CES? It's there of course, in the tablet version.

We've been testing SwiftKey Tablet X on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 for a few days now, alongside SwiftKey X on a handful of phones (including the Nexus S and the EVO 3D), and it's probably the best virtual keyboard we've used on Android yet. In fact, it's now replacing the stock keyboard on all our HTC Sense-equipped handsets. Prediction accuracy improves quickly after you start using the keyboard, and we liked having the option to turn off the spacebar-triggered auto-completion of words and phrases. Another useful feature is the ability to display arrow / cursor keys on the phone version. The supplied themes are attractive (especially Neon), and the layouts are intuitive -- although we'd have preferred the numbers to be arranged in a row instead of mimicking a numpad. Both applications are available today only for $1.99 in the Android Market. Regular pricing is $4.99 for SwiftKey Tablet X, and $3.99 for SwiftKey X. Take a look at our screenshot galleries below, and hit the break for our hands-on videos and more.

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Award-winning Android Keyboard Extended to Tablet Form Factor

SAN FRANCISCO – July 14, 2011 – TouchType Inc. today announced the availability of SwiftKey™ X for smartphones and SwiftKey™ Tablet X, two new intuitive Android keyboard apps. The launch builds on the company's success with its original Android keyboard app SwiftKey™, which debuted one year ago and has since enjoyed more than 1.5 million downloads.

Among the key advances in both smartphone and tablet apps are:

• Fluency 2.0 language inference engine: the latest evolution in artificial intelligence-driven text entry. Fluency 2.0 uses machine learning to predict and correct by observing how a user composes text and then predicts what they will likely type next.
• Cloud Learning using Gmail, Twitter and Facebook: TouchType's cloud-based personalization service learns from a user's message history to offer a customYfit prediction and correction experience never seen before on mobile or tablet.
• Integration of Touch Interaction Modeling: a technology that conducts real-time analysis of the user's touchscreen typing precision to improve word accuracy and predictions.

In addition, SwiftKey Tablet X incorporates an innovative split key layout for thumb typing on the larger touchscreen tablet form factor. The concept, developed by TouchType ahead of a showcase at Google's Honeycomb launch in February, has already been recognized for its innovative approach with a CTIA Emerging Technology award.

"Our new apps for smartphone and tablet give consumers direct access to the world's most advanced language technology of its kind," said Jon Reynolds, cofounder and CEO, TouchType Inc. "We've built SwiftKey X and SwiftKey Tablet X closely with our very passionate community of users over the last six months to offer an unrivaled touchscreen typing experience. Finally, we're excited to offer it to the market as a whole.

Among the wide range of new features coming to both smartphone and tablet applications, notable additions include:

• Keyboard themes and new customizations for both apps;
• Options to choose from more than 20 languages;
• Flexibility to enable users to type in up to three languages at once, with auto-correction that is language-aware;
• Improved settings and installer user interface.

SwiftKey X supports all Android 2.X smartphones and retails at $3.99. SwiftKey Tablet X supports all Android 2.X/3.X tablets and retails at $4.99. Both apps are available via the Android Market and Amazon Appstore. To commemorate the first anniversary of SwiftKey's beta launch, TouchType will offer a 48-hour promotion of the SwiftKey X and SwiftKey Tablet X for $1.99 each.*

* Promotion runs from 6am PDT 7/14 until 6am PDT 7/16