Earlier today we reported on an update to the SwiftKey Beta soft keyboards app. However, there was one aspect of the new update that we weren't quite sure of: the prototype multitouch functionality. So being the dedicated bloggers that we are, we contacted SwiftKey to get some additional explanation. Being the great software developer they are, they got back to us and provided a better explanation. The short version is if you tend to type fast on the soft keyboard, the new feature will greatly help in accuracy.
Here's the official response we received from Joe Braidwood, Chief Marketing Officer with SwiftKey:
To put it simply, SwiftKey now supports multi-touch on Android phones with an OS installation of 2.0 or above. Why we're calling it a prototype is, essentially, because multi-touch enables a variety of new ways of interpreting user input on the keyboard, and as such we've created a system that we think works well but we're eager for some feedback on how people are getting on with it.
With our implementation, pressing one key will give you the ability to slide around if you tap the wrong letter, but the second you press a second key, the key your first finger was last selecting will be inputted into the sentence. You then have the freedom to move around your second finger until the first finger reselects a letter, and so on. This is our first take on multi-touch support, and so far it looks like it's speeding people up!
The only other thing to note is that due to a bug with HTC Sense, if you install SwiftKey and change it to your default keyboard, the pinch and zoom aspect of multi-touch may stop working on your phone until you reboot it. Rebooting it and not changing your keyboard (i.e. with SwiftKey as the default) fixes this issue.
All of this information will be in our support pages soon.
So here's the bottom line, if you tend to type with two fingers, SwiftKey is going to register keypresses even if you press a letter before you've actually lifted your finger from the previous letter.
As I said in the article this morning, I had very much noticed that my typing speed had increased with the new version. After reading the multitouch explanation this afternoon, and doing a little more testing, the speed increase can be directly attributed to both the fact that there is no longer any noticeable lag, and the multitouch.
Yeah, ok, I'm a huge fan of SwiftKey. Though I've tried and tried, I can't seem to get the hang of ShapeWriter or Swype, and other keyboard apps out there just don't have the prediction abilities of SwiftKey.
A big thanks to Joe for following up with us.
Now... if we could just convince them to add some directional arrows to the app to allow for easier navigation of text in documents...