Swype Keyboard App Development Ends
Nuance Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) has announced that it is ending the development of its Swype+Dragon dictation Android and iOS apps. Swype support is being discontinued immediately. The company’s announcement of the apps’ discontinuation came earlier this month, but the actual removal of the apps just recently occurred.
On iOS, one version of Dragon appears to remain on the App Store in the United States, called Dragon Anywhere. A search for the Swype app on iOS now results in suggestions for rival keyboard apps. It is still available via the Google Play store, but post-market support is not available anymore.
Its discontinuation came as a shock to users as it recently received an update in January. Many users liked using Swype because it provided better user privacy than similar apps created by Google and Apple. Other users claimed that Swype was more accurate and quicker than the competition. Nuance acquired the swipe-to-type keyboard maker for $100 million in 2011.
Some speculate that Nuance decided to discontinue Swype due to loss of popularity. Google has released its own Gboard keyboard with a dictation feature, while many Apple device users use an iOS keyboard with next-word prediction. The Fleksy keyboard was revived last year with a new developer team behind it after a rocky development history. There is also the freemium keyboard app Grammarly, which raised $100 million from venture capitalists last year.
According to Nuance, the company’s decision to shut down Swype was a “necessary” move. As speech recognition technologies have gotten better, voice interfaces have started to supplant keyboard-based input methods. The company released a statement saying, “We’re sorry to leave the direct-to-consumer keyboard business, but this change is necessary to allow us to concentrate on developing our AI solutions for sale directly to businesses.”
Nuance is now concentrating on its speech recognition tech and using it to enable speech to text utilities. The company is reportedly making a dedicated version of its dictation product targeted at healthcare workers. The app would be trained on medical data-sets and mainly used for capturing patient notes.
Targeting a narrow problem like patient documentation is simpler than making a framework for creative environments. The app may even be able to reduce the inaccuracies that can creep in with handwritten notes. Nuance has been building dictation products for cars too.