Feature Article

February 19, 2014

Windows Phone 8.1 to Feature Swype-like Keyboard

It’s no secret that Microsoft has been struggling with its operating systems lately. With Windows 8 the problems have largely revolved around making its tablet-centric UI elements a little too prominent. These issues have largely been addressed with Windows 8.1. Meanwhile, Windows Phone has almost the opposite problem: It doesn’t have enough features.

Indeed, the common complaint about Microsoft’s smartphone platform has always been that it lags behind its competitors in one way or another. Initially, it was understandable since Windows Phone 7 launched years after iOS and Android were established. But even after two major updates — versions 7.5 and 8 — Windows Phone is still playing catch up.

Fortunately, Windows Phone 8.1 aims to do for smartphones what Windows 8.1 did for desktops: Address pressing issues. A recent leak suggests that this includes more options when it comes to text input. Specifically, it seems Windows Phone 8.1 will debut Swype-like typing to the OS.

Best known as an Android keyboard option, since it’s available on Google Play and all, Swype allows users to type by simply sliding their finger through letters. Many swear by this method over the more traditional tapping method. In fact, it’s a feature held so dear, that it may have been stopping some mobile users from making the switch the Windows Phone.

This isn’t the only popular feature that Microsoft has been late to the party with. Voice input is another feature that both iOS and Android have locked down, with Siri and Google Now, respectively. Windows Phone 8.1 should address this as well with a personal assistant that leans more toward Siri and leverages assets from Microsoft’s Xbox division. Indeed, the next Windows Phone update will feature Cortana from the popular Halo series as a personal assistant.

This is all just the tip of the iceberg, too, since Microsoft has yet to officially announce details about Windows Phone 8.1. Most seem to agree that we can expect a proper release in April, though.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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