Microsoft is today announcing, a new addition to its long list of productivity apps, the ‘Word Flow’ keyboard. After spending weeks in Beta, the Word Flow keyboard is finally available to download on iOS, and is touted to be one of the fastest keyboards available on the market. So much so for the fast typing, that even the world record for the fastest typing has been completed on Word Flow.
The ‘Word Flow’ keyboard is one of the experimental projects that has seen the light of day, and has been developed by the Microsoft research team at Microsoft Garage. The USP of the ‘Word Flow’ keyboard, as the name suggests, is its word prediction and swiping capabilities. Users can opt-in to be a part of the word prediction program, and the keyboard will then suggest and complete words while swiping or typing. It will also predict the next word, and correct errors in typing. The data sent over to Microsoft will thus, help prediction get better over time.
Another important feature of the Word-flow keyboard is the Arc-mode, which turns the keyboard into a semi-circular shape and helps the user easily reach keys on a large screen and provide a more ergonomic one-handed typing experience. It also offers the customization of keyboard background using your favourite images, which can be updated anytime.
The ‘Word Flow’ keyboard was first released on the Windows Mobile platform, and to make it available on other platforms, Microsoft spent about $250 million to acquire SwiftKey and bolster its word prediction system. The SwiftKey prediction and swiping technology is one of the best among other keyboard providers, and its 150 people core team joined the Microsoft Research Team, at Redmond, and has helped in upgrading Microsoft’s ‘Word Flow’ technology.
Microsoft is betting big on productivity with the release of a multitude of cross-platform apps, like the Hub keyboard, which makes Office 365 more productive and responsive for power users. One of Microsoft’s biggest reasons to focus its efforts on keyboard development was because Apple initially blocked developers from building system-wide keyboards on iOS, which was thus changed in iOS 8.
The ‘Word Flow’ keyboard is a relatively new experience launched today, but there a couple of downsides to the current application, which could easily be overcome in due time. The ‘Word Flow’ keyboard currently supports only the English language and thus, is only available to download in the United States, and is expected to release in Europe soon.