Swype, makers of the innovative touchscreen keyboard input technology, says its “swype” keyboards will be installed on over 10 million smartphone devices by year’s end.
Swype speeds up the process of typing on a touchscreen device by letting users swipe their fingers across virtual letters. The software recognizes words that users want, adding spaces and punctuation automatically. The system can be learned in minutes and doubles the speed of text entry, according to the company.
What’s interesting is that Swype’s technology was invented by Cliff Kushler, who also created the T9 predictive text-entry system that has been used on 4 billion phones worldwide. Like T9, the Swype software is the result of research into technology designed to help people with disabilities.
Like T9’s mass-market adoption, Swype is set to make the same mark, with all four major U.S. carriers saying they’ll offer phones using Swype by this summer, according to CEO Mike McSherry. The company’s software will also make its debut on handsets in Asia, Europe, and South America. Swype’s software is currently used on six smartphone models and will be added to about 14 additional models later this year.
Beyond the millions of smartphones set to equip the new technology, Swype is already busy targeting other mobile device segments such as tablets and e-book readers. Using Swype adds “tens of cents” to the cost of a device and licensees get a discount for higher volume, said McSherry.
Swype is now being used by—or is in talks with—companies that make more than 70 percent of the world’s mobile phones, indicating that Swype is hear to stay. Interestingly, Apple approached the company a while back expressing interest in the technology for the iPhone and iPad- however, Apple expressed “disappointment” that Swype was already licensing the technology to other device makers and quickly passed on the concept. I have a feeling they’ll be sorry with that decision.