Friday, May 23, 2014

Apps 4 Android: SwiftKey

Good morning my fellow citizens of the Internet! I hope that the day has found you happy and healthy. As promised, today is the first in a series of posts on reviews of apps that I use for my Android based Samsung Galaxy S3. I must reiterate that I am not a salesperson or representative or technological guru; I'm just a regular mobile device user who has found some pretty functional and entertaining apps that I feel are worth sharing. Let's start with one of my favorites: SwiftKey (30 day trial).

What is SwiftKey (pay version)? SwiftKey is an app for your cell phone, or tablet (please note that they are TWO separate apps, TWO separate downloads and TWO separate purchases), that replaces your default generic keyboard that came with your device. What do you need an app for your keyboard when you already have something built in? Customization and ease of use.

Let us explore the customization side of this app. You will notice that there are a number of similarities between this app and the factory app and that is because there are. Things like typing texts with the swiping motion or rotating keyboards. While these are options available on most any similar app, SwiftKey goes beyond most other apps with a number of really amazing tools, options and functions.

SwiftKey allows you a number of options with your keyboard setup. If you are like me then you never have your phone horizontally, always vertical. Or maybe you like it rotated. SwiftKey has the capability to help improve your texting with different keyboard layout options either way. Besides the keyboard layout, you have options of changing color schemes, removing/adding arrow buttons, removing/adding special characters and a number of small but helpful choices. My color scheme is Pumpkin.

Another tool that comes with SwiftKey is the statistics. Have you ever been curious just how accurate your typing is or how many words have been auto-corrected? SwiftKey keeps track of all those interesting little statistics that you can review at any time! To add to this you can also see a heat map view of which parts of your keyboard you are using the most. While these have no practical use per se, it is definitely interesting to look back on some of those statistics once in a while. I enjoy seeing how far I've flowed. 

You may have noticed my stats are a little low. I decided to restore my phone and re-install my apps as I was having some terrible memory and battery issues. I have been using this app for over a year now. You might be wondering by now: So it's got cool features, but it's still not that different or better than the generic one. I was saving the best part of this app for last and as far as I am concerned it is this feature that raises it above all other apps and makes it very much worth the $3.99 for the app. That feature? Predictive text.

Now before you tell me you hate predictive text or don't use it, hear me out because I didn't use it either; mostly because it was never predicting the right words. Where your custom keyboard application has pre-defined, pre-determined and thus a select set of words to predict based on the letters you started typing, SwiftKey remembers the words you use. It personalizes YOUR language and YOUR words to work out predictive text based on your messaging. What's that? You don't really text but you use your phone for social media? No problem. SwiftKey offers you the option to link email and social media accounts to it. What does this do? SwiftKey goes through your posts and emails examining your language and building a dictionary of predictive text that is specifically geared to you.

As you can see, I have added all the possible methods in which SwiftKey can learn how I type, what I type and the sort of typing I do. After a few months I could almost text simply by clicking the predictive words that appeared on my phone. Yes, the app can grow to be that functional.

I realize that for the best experience with this app that you have to pay to use it but at $3.99, that's two cups of coffee here folks, you can significantly improve your level of communication on your mobile device when texting, emailing or participating on social media. You will have far fewer instances of grammar trolls or auto-corrected/predicted words that make no sense in a statement you've made. I would highly recommend this app to anyone who uses their phone or tablet on a daily or regular basis for anything that requires typing.

I hope that you enjoyed this first posting in my Apps 4 Android series. I'll be back next week with another app to share with you. Feel free to share some of your own favorite apps in a comment and I will go check them out and post a review based on my experience. I'm always looking for a new app to try out. Thanks for reading and as always:

Love Yourself.
Love Each Other.

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