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Tech Report: Swype – a new way to type

By TheTechDad

Most smartphone owners have strong opinions about keyboards. A lot of people – particularly those who started their smartphone life with a BlackBerry – love a traditional keyboard. Whether it’s below the screen or a slide-out, the raised keys and solid feel of an actual keyboard is a must.

Other smartphone users – led by the army of iPhone owners – swear by the virtual keyboard, and happily tap away at a touch-screen as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

However, if you’re like me – with large fingers and little patience – neither keyboard feels quite right. Whether it’s real or virtual, the letters and numbers on smartphone keyboards are too just small and close together. Of course, the predictive text feature can help, but it still results in constant corrections and time wasted.

Now, some of the latest Android phones are introducing a new way to type. It’s called Swype and, like the name implies, it uses the touch-screen capabilities of a new generation of smartphones to swipe letters and numbers rather than type.

It takes some getting used to, but after just a day or two of practice it starts to come naturally. As the above video demonstrates, you form a word by dragging your finger from one letter to the next without taking your finger off the keyboard. Swype only uses the letters when you change direction. There are other tricks for swiping double letters, switching to upper case, or choosing numbers or symbols.

Once you get the hang of it, Swype is incredibly fast. You use the index finger on one hand, so it feels less awkward than holding a phone with both hands and using your thumbs.

Swype is currently available on Samsung Galaxy S phones, Motorola’s Droid X, and several other Android phones. For a full list of Swype-enabled phones visit Swype.com.

Follow TheTechDad on Twitter @TheTechDad 

Comment by geekbabe, posted 9/27/2010, 2:11 PM:

Now this is exactly why I love coming here! This site always has the scope on the latest in hardware/software, staying one step ahead of the kids is important!
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