SwiftKey shook things up this April Fools’ Day, not just releasing a prank but a whole new hidden feature that’s the real thing.
There has been quite a bit of buzz recently around a new SwiftKey feature the tech blogs had dubbed “Flow”. The supposed new feature would have been a way to type without users needing to touch the screen making typing faster. Most blogging talk was unsure if the feature existed or what it would even look like.
Well SwiftKey used the buzz as inspiration for their April Fools’ Day pranks. The developers of the keyboard app “released” an outlandish new feature that actually exists. On Monday, the Swiftkey team exhibited the new feature in a press video, showing their team playing with the new feature it calls Tilt.
Recently named one of the most innovative mobile companies in the world, SwiftKey’s last major release, SwiftKey 4, made typing even faster, easier and more personalized. It got the team to consider new ways to push innovation further, to take typing in a whole new direction.
In the video, Dr. Ben Medlock, SwiftKey co-founder and CTO, showed off a new feature in the typing app called “Tilt”. By activating this feature, you can turn your smartphone’s screen into a tiny pinball type machine. The typing is done by a tin-coloured pinball that leaves a colourful trail behind it. The pinball hits the letters according to how you tilt your screen and forms words.
The video was released on April Fools’ Day and was clearly meant as a gag. In the video, SwiftKey employees show off some Harlem Shake-esque moves while tilting their screens, forming words. What is great about this entire exercise is that SwiftKey actually took the pains of incorporating this feature into the app. Kind of like an Easter egg, this feature was already present in the app in the March 26 update.
To activate this feature on the SwiftKey Keyboards, users first type in “Tilt” and long-press on the word in the prediction drawer. Once you click on “SwiftKey Tilt”, the pinball will appear on the screen and you can move it around as you please.
SwiftKey 4 was released earlier this year with smarter features, which the company claimed makes typing on a touchscreen faster, easier and more accurate. A new feature called SwiftKey Flow (the buzzed about feature) was released with this update that allowed users to slide their fingers across the screen for faster and smoother prediction instead of hitting letters out. Without the need to touch the screen, SwiftKey Tilt seems like the next great move. This frees up thumbs to make even quicker progress through a text, email or Tweet. It also offers users an eye-catching way to interact with their devices and, according to the team, is fully compatible with both the Macarena and the Harlem Shake.
The feature really does work although it is far, far from being accurate. The pinball moves way too quickly, and before you even know, it has entered text that makes pretty much no sense. But it does make us wonder if SwiftKey plans to improve on this manner of text input. It makes typing feel like a game and would make writing that mail to your angry boss a lot more fun.
Download SwiftKey for Android from the Play Store here.