The keyboard combines the best of both companies' technologies, including learning engines from both sides that improve the accuracy of the keyboard over time.
The new four-in-one keyboard will feature next-word prediction based on historical usage, support for 55 languages, a personal dictionary for the user's dialect as well as the following input options: swiping from letter to letter, using the XT9 predictive text system, speaking the text or inputting the old-fashioned way on touchscreens. The software can also pull from users' emails, texts and posts on social networks to improve its learning ability. (See CTIA 2010: Swyped Away.)
A Beta version of the software is available to developers today. And check out this video of the keyboard's advanced functionality:
Why this matters Swype's keyboard has gained a lot of traction with users in the run-up to its acquisition: It's preinstalled on 200 million handsets in 155 countries. Now, the addition of voice controls and other functionality should mean there's something that appeals to everyone.
Even though voice calls may be on the decline, controlling your smartphone with your voice is becoming increasingly common with services like Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s Siri and Samsung Corp. 's S Voice (both powered by Nuance) popularizing it on smartphones.
"I think it's really the coming of age of voice," says Aaron Sheedy, VP of mobile for Nuance and former COO of Swype. "[Phones have] better processing power, better data, better microphones and you have enough data now to really be able to accurately tell what people are saying."
Nuance has also made a name for itself as the de facto transcription provider on mobile. It has been beefing up its presence in mobile voice-to-text through acquisitions and by integrating its Dragon Diction software throughout the functions of the phone, including voicemail transcription, voice commands to lock and unlock handsets and powering mobile apps. (See Nuance Acquires Vlingo for Voice-to-Text, Nuance Buys SpinVox, Nuance Unleashes Voice Control for Mobile, Nuance Powers US Cellular Voice Mail to Text, Nuances Gives Android, iOS Apps a Voice.)
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