Moving from a paid model to a freemium one, popular third-party keyboard app SwiftKey on Wednesday updated its Android app to v5.0, and also announced the launch of the SwiftKey Store. Notably, just last week at WWDC, Apple announced system-wide support for third-party keyboard apps, and SwiftKey quickly announced it was bringing its app to the platform.
Perhaps in a reaction to its upcoming growth user base via Apple's iOS ecosystem, SwiftKey has shifted to the freemium model on Android. Once available for $3.99, SwiftKey for Android is now permanently free and the trial version of the app no longer exists on Google Play.
It seems that the company has taken freemium route to get more users, while the revenue generation will be done via paid themes introduced on the SwiftKey Store. At the launch, there are over 30 new themes like Nickel, Cobalt are available at the store, with regular updates planned for future. The app also has a new default theme.
For the existing premium app users, SwiftKey is offering a "Premier Pack" of 10 themes worth $4.99 for free.
The update also adds an optional number row at the top of the keyboard, brings predictions for emojis (which are now part of database of more than 800 symbols supported on Android 4.1 or higher devices), and wider language support including Belarusian, Mongolian, Tatar, Uzbek and Welsh. SwiftKey is also touting the improved prediction engine and 'Flow' accuracy, as well as improved Flow trails.
Most of the features in SwiftKey v5.0 were a part of the SwiftKey beta app for Android. SwiftKey for Android devices was first launched in beta in July, 2010 while the company behind the app was founded in 2008 by Jon Reynolds and Dr. Ben Medlock. The app uses a blend of artificial intelligence that learns from previous SMS messages and enables it to predict the next word the user intends to type.