I am typing this post on my Android phone with an add on to android called Swype. Swype lets you drag your thumb across the keyboard instead of typing. Its really quite easy to use. Ive never used it before doing this post and yet it took me no more than a couple tries to get used to it.

I have to thank the readers of this blog for tipping me off to Swype. I knew it existed but did not know there is a test version for the android. You can get it here: http://www.androidcentral.com/download-beta-version-swype-android

I did this post in less than five minutes. I could not have done that with the on screen keyboard. Thanks everyone.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Comments (Archived):

  1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

    Excellent. So is your Quandary solved now?I’ve never used Swype but I’ve read a bunch of times how it (or similar apps) make it much easier to type on a touchscreen. So why haven’t Apple and Google implemented such a system as a default on their OSes?

    1. fredwilson

      that was my first thought as i started swyping. “why the hell isn’t this the way on screen typing works by default”

  2. ewiesen

    Fred – I’m pretty sure Swype is available for a bunch of phones but not the iPhone (if I had to guess, Apple doesn’t allow access to keyboard functionality that Swype requires). Curious to know if this is an improvement you are satisfied with over the medium term, but so far looks like a significant improvement.

    1. fredwilson

      that will be the test. i loved the google phone the first day. after two weeks, i was thinking about going back to blackberry. right now i am very much on the fence. swype could be the thing that gets me over the hump but time will tell.

    2. fredwilson

      thanks for the clarification on iPhone. i’ll fix that.

  3. lisitski

    Fred, if you are interested in text input technologies, you should also check out ThickButtons. While Swype requires some learning until you start typing (or swyping) faster, with ThickButtons you type just like on a regular keyboard. ThickButtons enlarges useful buttons and shrinks useless ones, so typing becomes very easy without any need to learn a new typing method. The video is quite impressive, check it out. http://vimeo.com/8106731

    1. fredwilson

      now i know how i am going to spend my weekend 🙂

      1. willrowan

        quite ;-)First weekend switching from WinMo Xperia X1 (with physical keyboard) to nexus, without.I knew about swype; thickbuttons certainly worth a whirl.Android drivers for external keyboards (the real answer for writing more than 100 words?) coming along, but not yet on Android 2.1 http://www.mymobilegear.com

        1. willrowan

          swype installed fine, but keeps complaining about the Nexus screen size; keyboard seems slower to load & rotate.tried http://shapewriter.com/ which does much the same as swype, and settled straight into the Nexus.Word suggestions are positioned nicely on left of screen – ideal for right handed use.(also available on iPhone, apparently)

          1. fredwilson

            i have the exact same issue about the notification of screen size issueshopefully swype will launch a ready for prime time android app soon

    2. chippy

      I believe that’s what happens on the iphone by default but it doesn’t change the key graphics.

  4. Jan Schultink

    Looks great. We need some I/O innovation to convert the user segment that cannot type on a touch pad to iPhone/Nexus One.Interesting parallel: from carving letters in stone to handwriting with ink without lifting the pen from the paper…

    1. fredwilson

      that’s how it feels like. no lifting. very cool.

    2. ShanaC

      I still think material to paper is awesome….

  5. MSellebraten

    sounds great. Not available for the iphone though.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks for the iPhone clarification. i’ve fixed that.

  6. ErikSchwartz

    What’s truly frustrating is all of these methods are still based on QWERTY, and societally QWERTY is not going away.Of course not only is QWERTY designed for ten fingers on a full size keyboard, it was designed to limit the top speed of fast typists because the MECHANICAL typewriters in use when it was designed jammed if you typed too fast.I don’t think one can overcome the societal issues of QWERTY but if one could there is a huge need here for innovation.

    1. kidmercury

      droppin’ it like it’s hot, erik. thumbs down for qwerty, that needed to be displaced yesterday.

      1. ErikSchwartz

        I actually think mobile touchscreens would be a great place for chording keyboards.http://en.wikipedia.org/wik…But I think the user adoption hurdles of a new layout are overwhelming. Palm did OK with graffiti for a few years. Perhaps a new text input paradigm is the “big thing” on the apple tablet.

        1. ShanaC

          There are already elements of chording- it fills in words for you.

    2. randym1

      I’m one of the Swype founders. There is no doubt we could optimize the key layout if we were able to go away from Qwerty. (Those pesky three adjacent vowels uio cause all sorts of difficulty). But, alas, the world knows Qwerty and if you want to minimize the learning curve (essential) then Qwerty it must be. I recall early-on having a meeting with a major OEM and the guy in charge walked in the room and before shaking hands or anything, asked “Is this based on the Qwerty layout?”. We said, “uh… yes”. He replied: “OK, we can keep talking”.

      1. fredwilson

        Great story and thanks for stopping by and joining the discussion. I love when developers/founders do that

  7. Ryan Power

    It seems wasteful that we only use half the available i/o space on these devices, especially given that we want them to fit in our pockets. Would it be possible to develop a blackberry type device with a nexus type screen on the back?

    1. kidmercury

      that’s the type of device i think will end up winning….the combo, no need to compromise.

    2. ShanaC

      It’s doable, just complicated, also doesn’t mean it is A) buyableB) easy to care forc) you want people dropping the thing??? (dual side things scare me because I know I am a klutz at times)

  8. Steven Kane

    sorry i’m late to this discussion – why have you ruled out the Droid?

    1. fredwilson

      I don’t like the keyboard at all.

  9. chippy

    Fred. Are you actually swyping by drawing a route between keys or are you single-touching each key?One other point about soft/hard keyboard – JKK of JKKmobile swears by the Droid keyboard because you can do so much more than typing. E.g. each app in Android can be quick-started with a keyboard combo. I’ve also found the same on other hardware keyboards – shortcuts become a real bonus. Think Google reader keyboard shortcuts. Ctrl-N and F5/F11 (on windows) etc.etc.Swype is good but losing 1/3rd screen, relying on CPU for intelligence and losing multi-key combinations and shortcuts still isn’t ideal.Over the last 24hrs i’ve been looking for the best pro thumboard productivity device and I can’t really find one yet. No, I lie. I’ve been looking for it for 4 years now. That’s exactly why I started the Carrypad blog!

    1. fredwilson

      i swype by drawing a route between the keys. i haven’t figured out how to get a double letter yet though

      1. randym1

        Just “squiggle” on the double-letter key as you pass through it to get a double letter.

        1. fredwilson

          I’ll try that. I sensed that was what I should do but did not perfect it

  10. chippy

    And one more offering in this great discussion. This article (from 2008) discusses MID and UMPC keyboards but much of it applies to smartphones, especially when considering pro-mobile/high quality input.http://www.umpcportal.com/2…I will update this article soon.

  11. johnmccarthy

    Score another 1 for an open platform. My iPhone or Android decision just became much easier.

    1. fredwilson

      Exactly. That’s what I thought

  12. Marty Barfowitz

    I wryte this commint in less than 45 seconds by running my tongue across my keyboard. Someone invest in me.

  13. ShanaC

    This is a comment I shall hold off from until I get at least a part time job.I have a Blackberry (that is being repaired). I’ve borrowed IPhones/IPods. And I have typed my name and email into the Droid. I cannot say Swyping is the new new thing of how people move until I try it myself.In the meantime, the five minute kyeboarding is good.How do you feel about cut and paste, editing? The Ive not being I’ve (I’m not being a grammar stickler, just aware of the fact that there probably is some mechanism to switch between letters and other characters.) Any changes you would like to see?

  14. Robogeisha

    I just installed it on my Nexus and it is awesome! I couldn’t type before – on iPhone or Android – and now I am whizzing along in less than 5 minutes. Great app. I wish they would make this native.

    1. fredwilson

      me too

  15. Andy

    There is a lesson to be learned re Swype that ALL would be entrepreneurs & software developers should learn from Swype (most important lesson that is not being told). The thing about Swype is that there is a near ZERO learning curve to it. That is it’s true beauty if you ask me. The developer designed it in such a way that the user did not need to ‘learn’ anything, more importantly did not have to read how to do anything. The clock on MY VCR is still blinking to this date …http://twitter.com/A_F

  16. Josh

    I love it. Thanks for the tip earlier on twitter, Fred.I think there could be better ways to do text entries based on statistical analysis of English words. For instance, just as a ‘.com’ is essential today as a key, we could have keys for ‘tion’, ‘ing’, ‘ment’, ‘the’, ‘ly’ or more complex word combinations which are common, etc…

    1. fredwilson

      i saw it tooduring the football gamefacebook and swype

      1. bijan

        Ssomething like swype could make a tablet much more interesting.

  17. Mike Mitchell

    curious if there is already a solution for this out there. QWERTY is for ten fingers on a full-sized keyboard. The majority of the day I’m at my desk with access to 10 fingers and a keyboard. Maybe this should be integrated into google voice or something but I would rather get text messages sent to my computer and reply to them there. I know gchat has sms but it doesn’t forward texts from your phone to your computer.

  18. Terry J Leach

    Very nice! I may give Nexus One a try with this application.