Mobile, Technology

Smartphone App Swiftkey Downloaded over 30 Million times in 5 Days

London start-up, Swiftkey had unveiled a swipe keyboard app that anticipates what you want to type back in 2010. On Wednesday, the app which costed USD 4 earlier, became free. And since then, it has been downloaded more than 30 Million Times, as per an NY Times Post.

The app which predicts what you will type next, applies information obtained from Artificial Intelligence and reams of online data. 

At present, the app is available in 66 languages including Mongolian. Although the app is now free on Google Play, it has introduced in app purchases for buying different keyboard skins.

Swiftkey is backed by nine investors including Index Ventures, Accel Partners, Richard Brennan and others.

Recently, the firm had secured four round of investments and raised total capital of USD 21.6 million. At present, the company claims to have six products such as Swiftkey Flow, swiftkey Note, Swiftkey Healthcare, swiftkey 3, 4 & X category. 

Also Read: Smartphone sales decline globally, predicted to grow in India

Tech Crunch says: The switch is a significant shift of business strategy for the UK startup, as the SwiftKey app has been a paid download since 2010 (not counting its free one-month trial app — which now goes away).

Other mobile users have also been able to use SwiftKey’s technology without paying for it themselves because certain device makers preload the keyboard by licensing it directly from SwiftKey.

“We’ve fundamentally been a paid app since SwiftKey was first released in 2010 and we’ve been thinking about this for a while and we now believe the right approach for us, looking ahead for the next couple of years, is to make it a free app,” said SwiftKey co-founder and CTO Ben Medlock in a briefing with TechCrunch.

“It allows us to reach a much wider user base. Originally we launched the product as paid because we wanted to prove that people would pay for it — primarily because we were really focused on our licensing business. It was a lot easier to persuade Samsung to license the technology if people were paying for it. But going free it follows the heart of the app market.”

More from New York TimesYet while the start-up is still looking to increase its users on Android, which has roughly 80 percent of the global smartphone market and typically is used in low-cost models, SwiftKey also wants to attract Apple users.

This month, Apple announced it was opening its keyboard to third-party apps like SwiftKey. The start-up had already teamed with Evernote, the popular note-taking app, to offer its predictive keyboard on Apple’s iPhones. But now SwiftKey says it is working on a keyboard app that will work across Apple smartphone software.

“As the Android experience gets better, Apple will have to consider opening up more,” said Richard Wong, a partner at the venture capital firm Accel Partners in California, which has invested in SwiftKey. “Despite phones’ becoming smart, most apps have remained dumb.”

SwiftKey can personalize its keyboard according to what and how each person writes across emails, social networks like Facebook, and mobile Internet searches on Google.

“We started the company to make a better keyboard,” said Mr. Reynolds, the co-founder. “From the beginning, our focus has been to get on a billion handsets.”

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