SwiftKey, the best of the alternative Android keyboard apps, is going free-to-use from today in an effort to attract more users from developing economies. All the existing features from SwiftKey will be available at no extra cost, with a bunch of new features thrown in to boot.
A new "clean" Nickel theme becomes the default, which SwiftKey claims is more ergonomic than the popular Cobalt theme, while SwiftKey also now supports Emoji prediction, suggesting any of up to 800 icons for when words alone can't express your feelings. An optional number row can now be switched on, providing access without a long-press, and an improved prediction engine is introduced which now better caters for multilingual users. Those that use the SwiftKey Flow finger-sliding typing technique will also benefit from a revamped system that makes intended inputs clearer to track. Finally, five additional languages are now supported: Belarusian, Mongolian, Tatar, Uzbek and Welsh.
The move to a free offering shifts the emphasis to in-app purchases, with paid-for themed keyboard packs on offer from a SwiftKey Store. Anyone who has already paid for the premium SwiftKey experience ahead of today's free-to-use shift will be treated to a "Premier Pack" that contains 10 additional themes, free of charge. [SwiftKey]