For the longest time, one of the advantages of Android over iOS was the ability to use third-party keyboard apps available on the Play Store. These keyboards each provide their own unique features to make text entry a better experience. One of the pioneers in swipe-gestures in mobile keyboard apps, Swype, has been a mainstay on many users’ devices. The app is so popular that it is even pre-installed on smartphones from Huawei. However, it looks like those days may be over in the future as Nuance has confirmed that they are discontinuing Swype for Android and iOS.
In a post made on Reddit earlier today, a user claims that they reached out to Nuance support with an issue and received the following message:
However, we are sad to announce that Swype+Dragon for Android has faced end of development. Here is a statement from Swype Product Team:
Nuance will no longer be updating the Swype+Dragon keyboard for Android. We’re sorry to leave the direct-to-consumer keyboard business, but this change is necessary to allow us to concentrate on developing our AI solutions for sale directly to businesses.
We hope you enjoyed using Swype, we sure enjoyed working with the Swype community.
Curious, we went looking online and discovered a Zendesk article from Nuance that announced the iOS version of the app would be discontinued as well. In order to confirm this, we also reached out to Nuance PR and they confirmed that development of Swype+Dragon for Android has indeed been discontinued.
This isn’t too surprising as it is clear that Nuance has been pushing hard on its direct-to-business front. Anyone in the medical field has likely heard of how Dragon Dictation technology is used by medical providers to dictate their charts. The company has also recently started working on getting its dictation software in vehicles.
For users of Swype, this will be sad news as it means the app will no longer receive any new features. This is disappointing because it’s possible that future versions of Android may introduce new APIs that could be useful for keyboard apps. For instance, Android Oreo introduced the
IME_FLAG_NO_PERSONALIZED_LEARNING API that allows apps to open a keyboard app in incognito mode so the keyboard app won’t record any input. However, the keyboard app actually needs to implement an incognito mode in order for this to work.
If you’re looking for a new keyboard, I personally recommend Google’s very own Gboard. While admittedly it has gotten more bloated over time, the app still receives a lot of new feature updates and is unlikely to be abandoned any time soon. If you would still like to continue using Swype, then you won’t need to do anything as the app is still available on the Play Store. Furthermore, Xposed Framework modules may help keep the app alive for a little bit longer, but I wouldn’t rely on that.
Update: Official Nuance Statement
When we first reached out to Nuance PR, we were unable to get a full statement on the matter due to the President’s Day holiday in the U.S. Now, however, Nuance has provided their full statement on the issue.
After years of leadership in the third-party keyboard and alternative text input space, Nuance made the difficult decision to discontinue our support of the Swype keyboard application as we continue to focus our efforts on AI-powered solutions for our core vertical markets. This means that the app is no longer available for new downloads from the iPhone or Android App Stores and that we are no longer maintaining or making updates to the app. However, current users still have the ability to access and use the app as normal and will be able to contact Nuance for tech support as needed for the next several months.
The core technology behind Swype will continue to be utilized and improved upon across other Nuance offerings – and integrated into our broader AI-powered solutions – most notably in Android-based keyboard solutions for our automotive customers.
We thank Swype’s loyal user base for its support.