Swiftkey Flow beta- Swype killer or Swype wannabe?

DSCN3976Swiftkey Flow has arrived. The beta version of the Swiftkey keyboard adds gesture or swipe typing to its already impressive arsenal of features.

However, after a few weeks of proper testing, its evident that Flow is no Swype killer. Why? Read on.

1. Swiftkey Flow gives you one word. Don’t ask for more.

Swiftkey seems overconfident in its ability to understand your swipes and forces you to go with its prediction even if you disagree.

In Swype, when you trace a word, the keyboard automatically selects the best match and types it out, but also displays close alternatives on the top of the keyboard till you move on to the next word. So if the keyboard gets it wrong or you trace one letter wrong, you still get to correct it right then and there. Flow, on the other hand just selects one word and gives you no alternate options. Yes, it does give predictions for the next word, but not alternatives for the present one, which is rather silly.

2. Correcting mistakes is a pain

While accurate predictions for the next word or sentence you’re going to type is great, a keyboard should also give you an easy way to correct mistakes that you or the keyboard made.

Suppose you traced a whole message at full speed and then realized some of the words weren’t what you intended. In Swype, all you have to do is tap anywhere on the wrong word and it shows the possible alternatives to that word, the same alternatives which would have been given when you swiped it earlier. Tap on one of these options and the wrong word is replaced with it right away.

In Swiftkey, if you want alternatives to the mistaken word, you have to tap precisely at the end of the word- a herculean task when there is a word right after it with just a small space in between the characters.

3. Swiftkey Flow does not believe in double letters

Swype has an easy solution to the problem of double letters- when your finger reaches that letter, just do a small scribble or loop there and it will come twice. Swiftkey seems to believe that double letters do not exist in the English language. Try swiping the word ‘too’ in Swiftkey. It simply refuses and displays ‘to’. And as I said earlier, this is the only option provided. So if you want to message ‘I love you too’, you better tap it out the old fashioned way.

4. Apostrophe’s are not allowed

In Swype, if you want to insert an apostrophe, you just swipe right through it as with any normal character. Swipe from I to ‘ to ll and you get I’ll. Swiftkey gives no such option. While this flaw is relatively minor compared to the other ones, it still shows the crudeness of the keyboard in it’s present state.


I really wanted to like Swiftkey Flow. I tweeted about it, installed it on my friend’s phone and raved about it. But as of now, this keyboard just can’t beat Swype or even SlideIT when it comes to gesture typing.

Swiftkey Flow can still be the best android keyboard out there if the developers take the beta feedback and act on it. But until they do, I’m going back to my trusted old Swype.

If you want to try Swiftkey Flow, go to http://vip.swiftkey.net/ and register to get a download link for the free Beta version.

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