Nuance Communications’s text input app Swype has added support for two Indian languages including Tamil & Urdu to its language options, bringing the total Indian language support to four languages including Hindi and Hinglish which it added support in July last year.
The company also debuted its app on the Google Play Store and is currently available in two different variants- a 30 day free trial app and full version priced at $0.99, although the company notes that this pricing is for a limited time. Prior to this, the company was distributing the app through OEM partnerships and was also offering the app for download on its own website.
Similar to all other third party keyboards on Android, one can install the app and enable it from the Language & Input option in the phone settings. (We tried it on Nexus 4 running on Android 4.2.2). Following this, one can choose and download any language keyboard of their preference. However, we noticed that there is also an additional step of entering an activation code received over email.
The app offers a regular language keyboard with all the vowels and consonants depending on the language the user chooses. The apps also seems to offer voice-to-text dictation powered by Nuance’s Dragon dictation, however the company noted that this feature currently doesn’t support Indian languages. The voice-to-text dictation also seems to recognize Indian accent for English language. What differentiates Swype from other keyboards out there is users just need to swipe their finger across the touch keyboard connecting letters to form a word. Note that, while the app allows users to swipe to form a word, it also allows users to tap on touch keys to form a word.
Predicting next word: Swype keyboard also predicts the next word a person might want to type, which is similar to what SwiftKey offers. We tried typing couple of sentences but found that it couldn’t predict our next word. It appears that the app might need longer time to study the typing habit. It also stores user’s dictionary, that is, new words added by the user to its dictionary. These new words are then backed up to its server. The app also allows integration with social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Gmail where it adds names of ones friends on those sites and new words from those social networking sites. Connecting social networking sites with the keyboard clearly bettered the word predictions. However, the challenge for such keyboards remains to recognize the context of what a person types.
Besides this, we particularly liked the keyboard’s ability to switch between languages swiftly, a long press on the space key allows users to switch between downloaded languages.
Other Indic Keyboard apps
– Google offers a Hindi text input app which allows users to type in Hindi on their Android phones. The app offered two types of input modes – a transliteration mode which allows users to type in English letters, which gets automatically converted to Devanagiri script while typing and a regular Hindi keyboard mode.
– SwiftKey offers support for Hindi and Hinglish (a mixture of Hindi and English, with Hindi transliterated into Latin script) languages to its language options. Besides Hindi and Hinglish, the app currently supports 60 different languages, including Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Macedonian, Spanish (Latin America) and Tagalog. Switfkey also allows multi-lingual users to enable up to three languages simultaneously and is available for Rs 99 on the Google Play Store. The company had recentlylaunched a new version of its keyboard app, called SwiftKey 4, which had introduced a new gesture input technology called SwiftKey Flow.
– KeyPoint Technologies also offers an alternative text input app called ‘Adaptxt‘ which provides keyboards for 74 languages including 13 Indic languages like Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu among others and transliterated Indian languages including Hinglish (Hindi + English), Kanglish (Kannada + English), Tenglish (Telugu + English), Tanglish (Tamil + English), Manglish (Malayalam + English), Odinglish (Oriya + English) and Marathinglish (Marathi + English). The app is currently available as free download on the Google Play Store (Phone & Tablet), GetJar Marketplace (Phone & Tablet) and Amazon Appstore and is available for Rs 5 on the Nokia Store.
– AndroidTweak.in had also launched an alternative text input application called Indic Keyboard, which offers support for Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi languages.
With inputs from Apurva Chaudhary