Google to release Swypelike Nexus Keyboard for Android

first_imgOne of the major rumors that is surrounding the upcoming Google announcement on October 29th is a new keyboard for the Android platform. The keyboard has been rumored to contain Swype-like features and be a complete replacement for the existing Android keyboard. If true, this will mark the third time Google has performed a major overhaul of Android’s virtual keyboard. With each release, the keyboard has improved dramatically, but the core functionality has never changed so drastically as the current rumors seem to suggest.The team at Google is more than familiar with Swype. During the Android Fireside Chat at Google I/O this year, towards the end of the discussion (42 minutes into the YouTube recording), someone from the audience asked the team if they had considered buying Swype. The keyboard replacement, now owned by Nuance, is pre-loaded on a variety of Android handsets. The Android team explained that a lot of time and effort was spent on making it easy for users to choose their own keyboards, and it was pointed out that while there are no shortage of Swype fans out there, plenty of people still enjoy the stock keyboard.It’s unlikely that Google would buy Swype, but there’s nothing stopping them from making their own version. Unlike Apple, who uses Nuance to power Siri, Google has never needed to license anything from the speech recognition company. In fact, in this arena, Nuance and Google compete directly. Nuance purchased Swype to improve their own keyboard, Flex T9. While Swype offered a vastly superior typing solution on their keyboard, Nuance’s voice controls were a key feature that Swype could really benefit from. The merger created a much more powerful keyboard backed by a larger company.Swype is now so popular that HTC has implemented a knockoff on their One line of devices. If Google were to build a new keyboard, it is unlikely that they would go the same route as HTC.It would make much more sense for Google to continue following their plan for their Nexus devices. Take Chrome, for example. While the Chrome browser is in many ways superior to the stock Android browser, Google does not force anyone to make it Chrome the default. When an OEM makes a device, they can choose to use Chrome, or they can implement the stock browser. On Nexus devices, Chrome is pre-loaded as the Google experience.Following this thinking, if Google were to release a radically different keyboard, it would make more sense to release it as a separate app that can be installed by anyone and included on Nexus devices. This would enable the entire Android user base to take advantage of new software, and dramatically raise the bar for existing virtual keyboards, like Swype.It seems like Google has a lot in store for everyone on October 29. If a new keyboard is among the news, it would make the most sense for Google to include it on the new LG Nexus 4, but release it as an app for anyone to use instead of replacing the stock Android keyboard.last_img

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