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The Best Replacement Android Keyboard Is Now Free

SwiftKey
The SwiftKey Android keyboard predicts which word you'll type next SwiftKey

SwiftKey is one of the first apps I install on any new Android device I get, so consider this a mini-review, if you would: If you type a fair amount on your Android phone and you haven’t tried SwiftKey yet, it’s worth a download — especially now that it’s free.

The app replaces your stock Android keyboard with one that lets you quickly swipe around from letter to letter, figuring out which word you’re trying to type.

What’s more, it uses prediction technology to try to guess the next word you’ll type, offering a few choices up above the top row of keys. If you see the correct word, just tap it and it’ll get plopped into your current sentence. The guesses improve over time: The more you use the app, the better it gets.

SwiftKey used to cost $4 after a one-month free trial, but the company has decided to make the app free from now on, charging users for additional keyboard designs instead. (If you’re a former paid customer like me, we get 10 free themes that would otherwise cost $5. Hooray?)

The latest version of SwiftKey finally includes access to a top row of numbers, too, which can be activated from within the app’s settings.

I don’t have a ton of complaints about the app — certainly no major complaints, anyway. Its former $4 price tag would have been a strike against it, but now that it’s free, Android owners should find a lot to like about it.

The company is also planning an iPhone version once the next iteration of Apple’s mobile software, iOS 8, rolls out this fall. (Current Apple software rules restrict the installation of third-party keyboards, but iOS 8 is lifting that restriction.)

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