We’ve got an awesome new beta ready for you to download today. It’s a complete rethink on how you present your keyboard — allowing you to “undock” it from the base of the screen, resize it, and present it in a compact, split thumb-typing or regular way. We’ve dubbed this update ‘Layouts for Living’ because we think it’ll help you get more from your mobile devices, regardless of the context you’re typing in.
(To get the beta, just tap on the above link on your phone or tablet)
This beta gives you much more flexibility. Our extensive UX testing showed that the way people hold their devices when typing is evolving. For example, if you commute in a cramped train, you may want to type or Flow one-handed but when you’re at home editing a document on a tablet, you might be more comfortable typing with both thumbs when you hold the device.The decision over how the keyboard looks and where you place it is now literally in your hands.
In addition to a host of bug fixes and improvements to our underlying prediction technology, you’ll get access to these three keyboard modes:
Compact: On many larger phones it can be difficult to enter text and hold the phone with just one hand. This new feature reduces the width of the keyboard and allows for easier typing with one hand or gesture typing using SwiftKey Flow. It also frees up more of the screen estate on tablets. You can switch it from the left or right side of the screen by a long-press or by dragging.
Thumb: For those who like typing on tablets in landscape or wide phones, the keyboard can be split into two areas, enabling fast, comfortable typing with both thumbs. Undock it from the base of the screen for even more flexibility.
Full: The traditional full-width keyboard is still available and users with tablets can opt for a layout that is similar to the presentation of a physical keyboard. This layout has left and right cursor keys and the backspace is positioned above the enter key, making it easier to type with two hands when not holding your tablet.
For this beta we are only offering a single APK, because we’ve merged together the optimized layouts for phones and tablets into one application. We’ve done this after listening to your feedback and to give a seamless experience across all device sizes. Let us know how you get on with it! When we roll this out of beta, it’ll replace all installations of SwiftKey, whether or not you have the phone version or tablet version.
As always, we’re grateful for every one of you who takes the time to test our new innovations. You make SwiftKey great. Thank you. Don’t forget to share your feedback here on the forums.
Co-founder and CTO
PS Journalists and bloggers – check our release page for more information.
Known issues in 18.104.22.168:
- When you unlock your screen, the keyboard may jump and then return to its position
- Changing from 4-row to 5-row layout (e.g. qwerty -> Hindi) doesn’t update positions or heights
- Some combinations of size and mode can resize beyond screen limit (so not all the keyboard will be shown)
- If you have “show arrow keys” selected, they will only show when the keyboard is docked (not when it is floating)
- Dark and Pumpkin themes may have odd spacing between keys Pitch theme sometimes show a white background when Flowing
- The following keyboards are currently unavailable: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bulgarian, Georgian, Icelandic, Punjabi, Russian Phonetic, Russian Windows, Svorak, Tamil, Turkish, Albanian, Qwertz_Serbian and Ukrainian
- Lag when opening Languages page of Settings menu
- Force close when downloading a language pack after changing orientation
- Heatmap is currently unavailable
- Keystrokes saved stat is currently unavailable
- Problems with the floating (undocked) thumb (split) keyboard:
- 1 – Smart punctuation key shows different order and doesn’t allow to select the rightmost character (comma)
- 2 – Dragging with two fingers (one on each tab) can cause the panes to snap together in the middle
- 3 – Only shows one pane on Sony Xperia ST21i