Microsoft has just added the next word predicting keyboard on the iOS system as an app. The move is seen as its way of trying to expand its influence in the mobile productivity space and Apple’s mobile ecosystem popularity. The app, Word Flow app, is live in the US App Store but is not yet available in the European Market.
The app was developed by the in-house Microsoft experimental projects division, Garage. The company earlier offered beta sign ups to iOS users but have now changed that to only users of the US App Store. The app was initially meant for the Windows phone and the Windows 10 operating system.
The new app allows for faster typing through swipe to type input, on top of allowing word predictions. One of the ingenious ways they are introducing in typing is typing via a thumb. The keyboard appears as an arc to allow for the easier typing. Users also have the chance to change the feel of the keyboard.
The keyboard technology was one of Windows methods in trying to win the smartphone market, though it did not work out well. One of the reasons that they saw the keyboard industry as fruitful was because Apple was blocking developers from making system-wide keyboards on the iOS. Apple was also slow in adapting which left a gap for others to pounce on.
However, Apple finally changed its stance through the release of the iOS 8 which allowed developers to create outside keyboards. It also led to more capabilities being loaded to the native keyboard. Since Microsoft’s plan to break the Android-iOS duopoly failed they had to think of something else, which is creating killer apps.
Microsoft recently shelled out around $250 million to show its seriousness with the app venture and acquired London-based keyboard maker, SwiftKey. At the time they mentioned they were integrating SwiftKey’s technology into the existing Word Flow Tech. They also pledged to continue developing SwiftKey’s projects.
The Word Flow app is not the first that the company has offered. The Hub app is already available on iOS, but it focuses only on the Office 365 users and how they can multi-task.