Microsoft has released a subsequent-phrase predicting keyboard as an iOS app as it seeks to faucet into the recognition of Apple’s cellular ecosystem within the hopes of expanding its affect in the cell productivity space.
The word float app, which was once developed through Microsoft’s in-house experimental projects division, storage, is now reside in the U.S. App retailer — even if it’s no longer yet on hand in Europe.
prior this month the corporate had supplied beta signal-americafor iOS users however it’s now flicked the change for users in the U.S. The app was once at the beginning developed for its personal smartphone platform (née home windows cellphone), and has also been supplied to users of its desktop product, home windows 10.
as well as subsequent word predictions, the phrase float app offers the promise of quicker texting by means of a swipe to sort enter — a la different keyboard apps like Swype. slightly extra novel is a one-exceeded typing mode that shows the keyboard as an arc with a purpose to allow for more uncomplicated typing by means of just a thumb. users may additionally customize the look and feel of the phrase go with the flow keyboard.
Keyboard tech used to be probably the most ways Microsoft sought to develop the fortunes of its home windows telephone platform in the early years, because it battled to poach market share from more dominant opponents. One reason to focus its efforts on the keyboard was once that Apple originally blocked developers from providing gadget-wide keyboards on iOS, and was additionally arguably gradual so as to add extra developed options to the native iPhone keyboard leaving a niche for others to take advantage of.
however, Cupertino changed its stance on gadget large keyboards with 2014’s iOS eight, opening up to outside builders and also loading extra capabilities into the native keyboard (equivalent to its personal subsequent-word prediction tech). meanwhile, Microsoft’s hopes of creating cell market share momentum, and making a dent in the Android-iOS duopoly, failed to materialize forcing the company to double-down on constructing apps to take a look at to make an enormous mark in cellular.
To additional this strategy, back in February Microsoft shelled out $ 250 million to acquire London-primarily based keyboard maker SwiftKey, an early mover in the subsequent-word prediction keyboard tech area. It stated on the time that it would be integrating SwiftKey’s technology into its existing phrase drift tech — as well as exploring “eventualities for the combination of the core know-how across the breadth of our product and services and products portfolio.”
Microsoft also mentioned it would proceed to supply SwiftKey’s apps, whose functionality evidently overlap with its own phrase float product — albeit the former can boast relatively better usage. on the time of the acquisition with the aid of Redmond, SwiftKey had amassed installs on some 300 million units across Android, iOS and its SDK products (the overwhelming majority on the Android platform).
word float just isn’t Microsoft’s handiest keyboard offering. Its garage division has produced any other keyboard app, referred to as Hub, which was on iOS already. but that keyboard app focuses on multitasking and productivity for office 365 users through permitting them to seek for and share documents from different Microsoft services corresponding to OneDrive and SharePoint. Which is fairly less attention-grabbing than extra open productivity keyboard plays, equivalent to Barcelona-primarily based keyboard startup ThingThing.
while messaging apps have tested the power to scale out a platform on (every other’s cell) platform, with WhatsApp, as an instance, passing the 1 billion monthly active users mark earlier this yr, it’s some distance much less sure that productivity apps like keyboards can hope to reach such scale.
certainly, SwiftKey’s exit to Microsoft suggests there are far tougher and extra bounded margins on attainable boom in the productivity app area. (Which then rather does carry the query why Microsoft has now not centered extra instruments on riding the development and market share of that well-known messaging app Skype that it obtained manner back in 2011… ah those Redmond dreams of what can have been!)
mobile – TechCrunch