So long, Swype: Widespread textual content enter keyboard discontinued as Seattle creators lament its demise

The Swype keyboard revolutionized how cell phone customers enter textual content by a straightforward “Swype.”

Not many expertise merchandise grow to be a verb, as in “I Googled it” or “We Ubered.”

However cellular keyboard startup Swype, created in Seattle within the early 2000s by expertise pioneer Cliff Kushler, achieved that standing. At its peak, the corporate was the default keyboard on hundreds of thousands of Android units throughout the globe, creating a neater methodology for addicted cell phone customers to concoct sentences on the go.

Now, it seems Nuance — the speech expertise firm that purchased Swype for greater than $100 million in 2011 — is discontinuing the product.

Former Swype CEO Mike McSherry (Picture for GeekWire by way of Karen Ducey)

“Nuance will now not be updating the Swype+Dragon keyboard for Android. We’re sorry to depart the direct-to-consumer keyboard enterprise, however this modification is critical to permit us to focus on creating our AI options on the market on to companies,” says a message on Reddit first reported by XDA Builders. “We hope you loved utilizing Swype, we positive loved working with the Swype neighborhood.” An article on Zendesk seems to verify the information.

UPDATE: Nuance issued this assertion Tuesday night time:

After years of management within the third-party keyboard and different textual content enter area, Nuance made the troublesome choice to discontinue our assist of the Swype keyboard utility as we proceed to focus our efforts on AI-powered options for our core vertical markets. Which means the app is now not accessible for brand spanking new downloads from the iPhone or Android App Shops and that we’re now not sustaining or making updates to the app. Nevertheless, present customers nonetheless have the flexibility to entry and use the app as regular and can have the ability to contact Nuance for tech assist as wanted for the following a number of months.

The core expertise behind Swype will proceed to be utilized and improved upon throughout different Nuance choices – and built-in into our broader AI-powered options – most notably in Android-based keyboard options for our automotive prospects.  We thank Swype’s loyal consumer base for its assist.

The choice comes as customers and the tech business more and more embrace voice as a mechanism for rapidly inputting textual content and interacting with units and digital brokers.

Swype continues to be accessible for obtain on Android however now not seems in Apple’s iOS App Retailer, which is particularly notable as a result of Swype’s growth to iPhone in 2014 was such a long-awaited milestone.

We’ve reached out to Nuance for extra data, and have but to listen to again. Nuance’s product web page for Swype offers no clues that the product is being discontinued, with a message that notes: “Say whats up to the quickest keyboard on the planet.”

Former Swype CEO Mike McSherry — who was instrumental in rising the cellular keyboard’s utilization and later offered the corporate to Nuance — informed GeekWire that it was unhappy to see the product “mothballed.”

“We’re proud to have invented a product that’s been placed on over one billion telephones and helped shepherd on the earth of touchscreen typing,” stated McSherry, who now serves as CEO of Seattle well being startup Xealth. “Swyping has now been mainstreamed by Android so is now a default typing mode on multi-billion telephones globally.”

McSherry stated he’d like to see a Swype-style keyboard applied as a part of Apple’s iOS native keyboard expertise, noting that it “can be the following step to cap off Cliff (Kushler’s) wonderful inventiveness round keyboards.”

Kushler got here up with the thought for Swype in 2002 after having co-founded Seattle-based Tegic Communications, which was a pacesetter in predictive textual content enter on cellular units. Tegic later offered to AOL, after which to Nuance. Apparently, the co-founder of Swype — Randy Marsden — now serves as iOS keyboard supervisor for Apple, overseeing the textual content enter applied sciences for iPhones and iPads. (Or, as he places it in his LinkedIn profile: “Sure – in case your auto-correct bought it unsuitable, it’s now finally my fault!”

After studying the experiences of Swype’s demise, McSherry stated that he’d contemplate shopping for the model. He’s not spoken to Nuance about that but, however famous that he’d like to have it if it wasn’t going for use. “Good model!” he stated.

Microsoft entered the cellular keyboard textual content market in 2016 when it bought Swype rival SwiftKey, gobbling up its estimated 300 million Android and iOS gadget customers. “On this cloud-first, mobile-first world, SwiftKey’s expertise aligns with our imaginative and prescient for extra private computing experiences that anticipate our wants versus responding to our instructions, and immediately helps our ambition to reinvent productiveness by leveraging the clever cloud,” wrote Harry Shum, government vp of expertise and analysis at Microsoft.

For many who by no means gave it a strive, right here’s a more in-depth take a look at how Swype labored:

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