Google’s answer to the Android fragmentation “problem” is a simple one. Tear out as many of the Android components out of the core Android experience as possible, and then offer them as upgradeable applications. You guys might not believe this, but there was once a time where you had to buy a new phone to enjoy the latest version of an operating system’s web browser or video player.
Fast forward to today and Google has ripped Maps, Chrome, and even the keyboard out of the “core” of Android. Last night, the keyboard got updated to version 1.1, and the main new feature is the ability to long press on buttons to insert numbers if you’re using a tablet.
But there’s more, and Ron Amadeo, famous former Android Police writer, now with Ars.Technica, has found a whole host of new features in the keyboard’s APK that are not yet activated, but will be coming soon.
Feature one, multi-word swiping. Google’s keyboard can act like SwiftKey, but there’s something SwiftKey does that Google doesn’t do, and that’s allow you to insert spaces between words simply by tracing over the space bar. In other words, you never have to lift your finger to input text.
Second feature, cloud dictionary. Again, SwiftKey connects to the internet to find words that are trending, even if they’re slang, and inserts them into your phone’s database. Looks like Google is going to steal that idea.
Third feature, downloadable languages. Hate to bring them up a third time, but yes, SwiftKey will let you download additional languages should you want to communicate with your friends or family in another country. Google is going to steal that feature too, eventually.
Should you feel bad for SwiftKey? Yes and no. This happens all the time. Companies create a platform, developers come and innovate on top of it, the platform creator sees a popular app or service, decides to integrate it into the platform itself.