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Windows Phone 8.1's new swipe keyboard revealed on video

Windows Phone 8.1 is shaping up to be a major OS update. Though there are a few big ticket new items, there are also a lot of under the hood fixes too. One of those in-between additions will be a new swipe-based keyboard. We mentioned this addition in our 8.1 features list and other articles not as a third-party replacement, or Swype from Android, but rather Microsoft’s own addition to the stock keyboard.

This morning, Unleash The Phones have posted a video purporting to be that very keyboard. Indeed, we can confirm its authenticity at this time.

The keyboard itself is fairly straight forward: stocky keyboard but with the ability to drag your finger to pick letters. There’s also a newly updated prediction engine to help make things faster, including the ability to suggest emoji when typing certain phrases e.g. ‘happy’ will bring up that word plus the smiley emoticon.

The new swipe keyboard looks clean, fast and an exciting way to input text into Windows Phone 8.1. It was one of the key pieces of the update to not leak out, though like everything about 8.1, it has now seen the light of day.

What do you think of the keyboard? Sound off in comments.

Source: Unleash the Phones; via: the Verge

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Reader comments

Windows Phone 8.1's new swipe keyboard revealed on video

299 Comments

Still don't understand why voice-input everywhere isn't included.  I'll take this, but I'd much rather have that.

Please explain.  What kind of voice input is missing.  I can voice input in text, email, search...  Where is it needed?

For text, press and hold windows button until it registers, and say text, name, say stuff. Same for search, just say find. For email, press the MIC icon.

But many apps don't have voice command functionality in their search menus. I'd really like it in Xbox Music.

Hold the windows logo down to bring up the speech menu, hit the question mark icon, then swipe to apps and explore what commands your apps support.

Put it in the keyboard like android did. That way the app developer doesnt have to waste an app bar "slot" to put the speech-to-text button there. Which means literally any play that you can type, you can use speech-to-text (text box on a web page, one note, word, powerpoint, kik, facebook comments, etc etc etc).

 

I wouldnt go as far to say that it's needed in those places, but it would be nice to always have the option available.

As a father of a 13 year old girl, I can safely say that teenage and preteen girls don't use facebook anymore. From my experience, Facebook has become the domain of middle aged moms with self esteem issues and too much free time on their hands posting selfies and pictures of their kids.

anywhere that you get the keyboard should also offer voice-to-text. it should be another button on the keyboard.

for example... i know i shouldn't be using my phone while driving, but sometimes I want directions. I have Nokia drive as a large tile, and the search button is large enough that I can tap both without really looking... but then I have to focus on my phone to enter an address.

its not as good as if it hooked into the speech API (long-hold home button, "Drive to [address]"), but at least it'd be something.

Kind of but it will close the gap to new wp users I guess. On the other hand, for me it's not the ultimate feature

This is a deal breaker level feature for me. Anyone who has had swype for a long time, sends lots of texts and emails from their phone should agree swype is a nessesity.

So, everyone complains it doesn't have and when it does get it, now it will be "too late"? Too late for what? The mobile market is in constant flux as phones age, contracts come up, new tech is introduced. The market went from WinMo to BB to iOS to dominated by Android (though not necessarily *the* Android) in a short time. A quality OS with support various services, good app selection, and a full feature list will have a fair shot at succeeding. The play between W8/RT/WP will help the app divide close as well.

The mobile OS market isn't about religions, every person buys a new phone every once in a while - so WP still have a shot...

Well yeah it is, android and IOS are spoke of with fervent opinion much like religion. Many IOS users wont even consider changing because the phone doesnt have a half eaten apple on it.

Samsung may test what Android really means or not soon.  They are making their watches Symbian next time.  What if they moved the Galaxy line to Symbian.  I'd bet the majority of the buying public know Samsung Galaxy more than Android, and I'd bet they get quick app support too. 

Please explain the "too late" statement because it's really starting to get overused and old. People complain when a platform doesn't have certain features, and then when those features get added all I see is "it's too late". Really?? If that was true, then we'd see only one company dominate everything. I really don't understand the glass half empty mentality. "Hey guys, I know our customers want this feature, but since our competitor already has it, we might as well just throw in the towel". Complete nonsense

It's not too late. Its just not an original breakout feature. When its reported on it will be met with "and Windows Phone finally gets a swype type keyboard. This function has been on android for years". We're just coming par feature wise, which is a good thing and never too late. Just not anything new. Cortana, in camera video effects, and a few other things are holding more of my interest than anything else.

We had them but MS keeps shooting themselves in the foot, ie: late, late, late updates, ability to update live tiles to real time, removing app to sd card, cal, clock, ect.

Do you realize the difference between "late" and "never", do you? As an example: "Android will never be a secure OS" versus "Windows Phone 8 got the swipe keyboard a bit late".

@CyclingNut, I can explain for you. Don't engage with this poster, this is his post recently from the comments section:

giorgio h says:

Anyobe knows good porn sites? I like ebony porn!
Edit: anybody* (wrote it while fapping)

And you want to enter into sensible debate with this guy? Forget it, wasted breath.

 

Youporn and Redtube both works great in my Lumia 1020 although eventually I would prefer a Lumia 1520 or bigger for porn.

:-P

What does this even mean? That they shouldn't release it? I am so tired of the "too late" comments. It's never too late to release something good.

Around the world its catching up to the number 2 spot (Apple). Its just a matter of time. Just the US is its last battlefield from the iZombies...

And the UK. Its horrific the amount of people who have an iPhone here.

Global share for iPhones might be 15-20% but here in the UK it feels more like 80%

I am from up north! =]

I must admit i have seen a few more people with windows phones (part-time barman, see alot if peoples phones) which makes me happy. But still the amount of iPhones is significant.

It is never too late. Just bcoz your son came late to home , he doesn't stop being your son or you stop loving him.  Atleast see it this way , WP did it and Apple did not ! Now that can't be said too late 

 

LEts appreciate the effort they have taken and stop crying too late too late 

 

 

Did anybody see the 'Games' and 'Personal' section in the begining and end of the video. I think you can make groups on main screen and arrange apps in them....  Like windows 8

Never too late for Windows Phone. This is the one feature I miss since I got rid of my android tumor.

There is no such thing or concept as too late. Windows Phone has consistently increased there market share. It is a young, growing OS. It's on the rise. Each update is cherished and celebrated by the community. This does not sound to me like it's "too late". It it's too late for you as a person, then don't read this blog. Go elsewhere. If you are still interested in WP, then each update is going to bolster it's feature set and market share.

 

I personally LOVE LOVE LOVE the swipe feature. I have regularly commented / emailed that this is a major missing feature that I missed after switching from Sony Xperia. However, this was the last feature I missed. Are there loads of feature that I gained when switching to WP, yes definitely, most of which I love is Mix Radio. People are forever commenting they love that feature and wish they had it.

 

Do you agree with my personal preferences and opinions? Perhaps not. But I clearly say this is my opinion. Whereas you are like, this is a fact. There are no facts such as the one you mention, and to make an opinion out is a fact is a very poor communication trait.

"Cooool, but too late for windows phone..." - stupid remark if you realize that the mobile world is not set in stone but is in constant flux. WP is still growing and gaining momentum so nothing is too late.

It's pretty useful if you're wearing gloves, as your fingertip accuracy goes down, but this method can generally interpolate what you were trying to tap out.

Strangely once you get used to it, you tend to type faster. For us old folks its just a good brain exercise lol...

I'm with you because even when I was fully using android, I disliked it. Now that i"m fully using WP and swipe-keyboard is coming to WP, It doesn't excite me but I fully welcome it for those who desire it.

As someone who used to use Swipe when it first came out for Windows Mobile, I'm looking forward to getting the feature back in 8.1....

i think that was swype. swype is a company that became synonymous with the swipe keyboards. in windows phone 8.1 you'll have a swipe keyboard (the feature) just not by swype (the company). sorry its just a technicality.

Swype I think is now fully identified with android so maybe that's why MS bypassed them. But MS had a lot of expierence with it during the WinMo days, I don't think bringing the functionality into WP's keyboard would be any problem.

what if i have to type an alphabet twice like "hello" "happy" with alphabet coming twice.. how to use swipe!! i now text prediction will provide full word but still!! i want to know!!

It can predict that by the other letters you swipe. It is very efficient and fast. At least Swype on Android is, I'm assuming swipe on WP8 will be similar.

MS had a lot of experience with Swype during the WinMo days I'm sure the feature they're baking-in to the WP keyboard is fully as functional and as efficient as Swype's is.

In Swype, the default way to enter double letters was by tracing a loop over the letter using the finger. I guess most swipe entry keyboard used that gesture now, WP might use that gesture too.

Anyone else notice they finally made the space bar longer by removing one button to its right? Finally no,more,of,this

Swipe keyboard is such a killer feature in android. Having it on Windows Phone is awesome. All the new features are great, but this is one feature that you use 90% of the time. Awesome!

Yes! My most wanted feature, as of late. I've been using swype exclusively on my Nexus tablet and hate having to type on my iPhone or 920!!!

I agree 100%. I moved away from WP before wp8 because it didn't support font sizes (bad eyes). I'm moving back, and this was the one feature I knew I'd miss the most.

Thanks MS for adding this!! To all people who shrug this off - wait until you start using it consistently. You'll never go back to typing with your thumbs again. 

I am more interested, in fact, in seeing this keyboard in action on a Windows tablet. :) Surely, the surface is bigger and might be tiresome but still. Anyway, it looks very clean and fast, can't wait to try it out! Can we hope for a developer preview in April? :) I mean, has it been confirmed by a reputable source?

Probably where your finger stops for a 1//4 second enters as a possible letter choice, combined with other potential letter choices, it's just a text prediction engine combined with SLA to guess what word you want.

You run your fingers through the letters you want to spell and it predicts with great accuracy which word you are spelling. I do not use it but know some that do and they love it.

sent from my kick a$$ Nexus 5!

It's about time. Swiping is bar none the easiest way to type on a handheld device. Easiest and quickest.

 

I don't understand waiting until April. They obviously have it ready. Release it now. Boom announcement in one day and then release it. Fuck suspense and hype. Be the company that provides the quickest service, you can't buy hype like that. April is a whole other season. It's still snowdrifts and windchills right now. They may as well say they'll release it when man lands on Mars.

To be honest on touch screens I can honestly argue classic keyboard is NOT the way to go. I was faster on my T9 on my flip phone and my Swype keyboard on my Droid. I don't text alot so its not a big deal for me though

Really? Sounds to me like you're just not used to typing on a normal keyboard.

T9 is definitely the slowest - and I personally find swiping to be awkward, unless you're wearing gloves and can only use one hand.

If you're someone who touch types on a full-sized keyboard, chances are "classic" typing is the fastest method for you.

Well opinions are that for a reason, T9 with prediction was he fastest and I didn't even have to look at the screen. When I was in high school I used to read a text, out the phone back in my pocket and text with one hand faster than original iPhone and Sidekick users. It was amazing. I'm lightning fast on my desktop/surface touch screen with qwerty. On a phone it awkward, two thumbs are different than 10 fingers. Me and my fiance wanted swype since day 1, and were actually thinking about both trying T9 aswell

Yep, I suppose it's just a matter of taste then really. In any case, it's nice that we're finally getting more options so that anyone can enjoy WP more.

i agree with you about that its very useful (to some) but i disagree with the rest of your comment. MS aren't the ones that are doing these leaks so technically they didn't announce anything for you to say they're waiting a season to launch it. people are leaking these info about wp 8.1, which is really hurting MS because people want it ASAP. assuming its ready is plain wrong. unlike google, MS & apple test over and over the software/hardware combo to make sure it works 100% the first time. there is no point in launching something quickly so people will bitch that it doesnt work right. 

I used it first on my HTC hd2 days when it first came out. Swipe still sucks when you have to type URL address.

Same here. Fastest way to enter text with fingers on a phone by far! Looking forwad to using this on my 925. Also looking forward to the new background feature.

I type using both thumbs, which is maybe why I don't quite get how this works. I think I will need to try it once the feature is released.

For me Swype was meh on Android.
I am looking forward to trying it on WP though because predictive text is very good. Hoping that makes the swiping keyboard on WP better than what I've used before.

Kind off, i mean that they knew for sure the developers would leak these new features before the announcement, and to see if the people will get excited (which i really am!) but they have a few surpises on the table, like Cortana, something with the search button, and maybe who knows, something else unique or something..

....? what did you expect? its a keyboard you can slide a finger over. i guess you missed the whole point of him sliding his finger and the blue line showing the path he dragged his finger in....

Off topicish, but does anyone know/think that depending how the background image is done, that it will also be implemented as the background for apps that depend on the theme like messaging or the me tile?

You would have a background image for messaging and other apps. Like how now it is dependent upon the theme you choose (light or dark).

I recently picked up an LG G Pad 8.3 and use SwiftKey Flow all the time, and when I pick up my 920 I try swiping around and go oh yeah, lol. So definitely looking forward to this!

I saw in this video that Windows Phone 8.1 could group the tiles like Windows 8.x. And I saw this feature already in Nokia Thailand's workshop event.

Yeah man, it's a little sad. But if i remember correctly, where there leaks of Kids Corner before the announcement of Windows Phone 8 back in 2012? I don't remember leaked things about Kids Corner (i might be wrong), so i hope some of the remained new features will be revealed at BUILD :)

+1 Every time Daniel writes about a leak I just feel sad. But again this is same angle as they had with Mango. These leaks are extremely helpful to deter those who may even think of jumping on Normandy or S5 or iPhone6. It wont attract everyone but surely it will get those on the fence thinking. If WP is already on par with 8.1 and is the most gorgeous UX, UI - why wait for boring iPhone6?

Let them flow. Those on the fence now have no reason to upgrade to iOS. They may even upgrade in April as the beautiful UI they didn't choose 2 years back is now on par with features, has 200k+ apps and is matured. It will help marketshares.

I'm not a big fan, but that doesn't matter, there are many who are. Good addition for those who like it and that's really what's important, options. Different strokes (pun alert) for different folks.

I want 8.1 now please! Windows phone already has my all time favorite keyboard, with swipe its going to be even better

Don't know how the heck this works but if it will make many happy I am here for it!!! Options! Innovations! YES!!!!

Having this on Windows Phone and on Windows 8.1 tablets would convince my wife to switch from Android. It's that important to some people.

Why would you convert someone by force to switch to windows phone? Please don't be that harscore Christianity guy from 1700

Convert by force? No. She would be open to a Windows Phone and a windows tablet but simply can't do without swype keyboards. Nothing to do with conversion. LOL... Just stating certain little features encourage adoption to new platforms

I never used this feature, but it looks interesting. I will try it out as soon as possible when the update is being rolled out :)

^This!

Why would Microsoft copy Android when they have WinMo in their data bank already!

@explosive0 is either a 5-year old or has alzheimer's disease.

I love the swipe feature personally. Can't wait for it to arrive, along with all the other cool features

I've never really cared that WP didn't have keyboard options, but seeing this video makes me really want it

Wow Daniel i just noticed something else which u probably noticed already but seems like you now can group apps?? Just like Windows 8.1 and give the group a name? Correct me if i'm wrong, would love to see this feature too!

Yes.groups like social,games and personal can be seen at the start and end of the video.great feature like in win8.1.can't wait.....

As someone who was really hesitant to get on to the WP train because of the absence of thr Swype keyboard from Symbian, I have only one word -"Woohoo!" Thanks MSFT.

I hope the swiping effect gets colored with the accent you choose but having independent colors would be awesome too

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