If you own an Android phone and you haven’t tried Swype, you’re missing out. The original trace keyboard has been around for years, but it was only available two ways: pre-installed on select devices, or as a “beta” web download. But today Swype has finally shed that beta tag, and landed in the Google Play Store.

Swype v1.5 is very similar to every previous version of Swype. In case you somehow missed that boat, that means tracing your finger (or stylus) from letter to letter to complete words. It also has some predictive capabilities, and lets you use a split keyboard for more spacious screens.

Nuance, the voice recognition company behind Dragon Dictate, bought Swype in late 2011. Dragon’s voice recognition, naturally, is integrated into all recent versions of Swype.

Competition

Swype was a pioneer in trace keyboards for mobile devices, but it now has plenty of competition. The biggest is SwiftKey, the popular predictive keyboard that recently added a feature called SwiftKey Flow. It’s basically Swype on steroids, in that you don’t have to stop tracing between words.

To countless Android users, though, the choice that comes from that competition is a huge perk. Apple's iOS still uses the same tap-only keyboard that launched on the original iPhone and iPad – with only very minor changes through the years. Last year, we targeted the keyboard as an area that Apple could afford to improve in iOS.

Swype will set you back US$0.99 in the Play Store. There's also a free trial version. Swype isn’t compatible with every device, but Nuance has done a good job of casting a pretty wide net.

You can get a sneak peek in the video below ... just don't expect many changes from the last version of Swype that you tried.

Source: Swype via Android Police