HTC to Replace Swype with TouchPal

HTC to Replace Swype with TouchPal

According to engadget (citing TouchPal as well as an internal source), HTC aims to replace Swype with TouchPal as the default input method in upcoming devices, including the new HTC One M9. The official TouchPal Twitter account also tweeted the engadget article about this, further confirming the move.

What prompted this move? The CEO of CooTek, the company behind TouchPal, says it’s because of their better contextual prediction and language support. If you actually look at the supported languages, you’ll find TouchPal only has a dozen more than Swype (both also support many popular languages and input methods, as well as dual language input).

If we compare the two keyboards, we’ll find a few other differences as well:

  • TouchPal supports emoji input (as well as emoji predictions, emoji art and text emoticons) while Swype does not.
  • TouchPal generally supports more layouts.
  • Input correction is easier with Swype (you can tap the Swype button to select or replace the last word). Swype also looks at the word’s context when you go back to correct one.
  • Both have fairly good next word predictions if you enable cloud features, although TouchPal makes inputing them easier with the “Wave” feature.
  • TouchPal can import contact names and dictionary words. Swype isn’t capable of doing this.
  • Both support theming, although TouchPal’s selection is much more vast. You can also set a custom background for TouchPal.
  • Swype uses Dragon dictation. Opinions about it are mixed.
  • Some TouchPal features, such as backup, sync and cloud predictions, require a paid subscription. Swype is (usually) paid with no additional subscriptions.

To most end users, this change will probably be welcome as it brings much better customization and emoji support while generally feeling the same since both keyboards have pretty good gesture typing support. More advanced users may be disappointed in TouchPal lacking some gestures and sync features for free, though it is still unknown whether preloaded TouchPal versions will offer those features for free or not.

Naturally, both keyboards are available on the Play Store, so this might not seem like a big change to many readers. However, a keyboard being preloaded as the default input method on a flagship device can greatly increase its popularity around the world (that’s how Swype started!), making this an important change for CooTek and Nuance both.

(You can check an in-depth review of both Swype and TouchPal, as well as many more, in a precious article: Guide: In-Depth Look at the Best Android Keyboards)

(Source for HTC’s decision: engadget)

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Currently studying for a Master's degree in Computer Science at EPFL, Germain Z. is interested in all things related to technology, mobiles and programming. Previously, he was also a Forum Moderator and Recognized Developer on the XDA forums.