Swiftkey, one of Android’s major keyboard replacement apps, is getting an upgrade in the beta channel today. The biggest change is “Layouts for Living,” which gives users the ability to create custom keyboard layouts. Not all tablets and phones are made equally, so instead of providing a one size fits all solution, SwiftKey wants users to be able to craft the perfect keyboard layout for their particular situation.
“Allowing people to manipulate the location, size and layout of the keyboard not only makes it easier to type – it gives our users a more personalized way to interact with their technology and each other,” said co-founder and CTO Ben Medlock. “We are committed to creating world-class user experiences that marry our powerful language technology with interfaces that learn and adapt to each user’s needs.”
Of course, you won’t have to put in much work for a decent layout for your device, as SwiftKey is providing three common presets:
- Compact: On many larger phones it can be difficult to enter text and hold the phone with just one hand. This new feature minimizes the width of the keyboard and allows for easier typing with one-hand or gesture typing using SwiftKey Flow. It also frees up more of the screen estate on tablets.
- Full: Users with large screens can now opt for a full-width keyboard with left-right cursor control keys and a backspace key above the “Enter” key. By placing the keys closer together, this new layout mimics the experience of two-handed typing on a physical keyboard.
- Thumb: For people typing on tablets in landscape and with wide phones in portrait the keyboard can be split into two sections, enabling fast, comfortable typing with both thumbs.
Finally, SwiftKey has announced that phone and tablet versions of the keyboard have been merged, meaning you can buy it once and have it available for any of your devices. SwiftKey says it’s to eliminate the “guesswork,” though we’d be a bit worried if you didn’t know whether you had a phone or a tablet. (Well, there are phablets, but you get the idea.)
Those in the SwiftKey beta program can get the new Layouts for Living update here. Be sure to submit feedback about any bugs and crashes as often as you can so the upgrade can head to the Google Play Store even faster. Let us know if you’ll be getting in on this in the comments section below.