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SwiftKey smart Android keyboard goes free

One of the most popular and highly regarded third party Android keyboards, SwiftKey, has gone free on the Google Play Store.

SwiftKey launched its first full version onto the old Android Market in 2011. It featured an at the time novel prediction engine that could provide intelligent suggestions as to your next typed word.

The app also learns from previous text messages to help inform its suggestions.

SwiftKey has been a paid app for some time now, but the developer has just made it free on the Google Play Store. By the looks of it, this is a permanent move rather than a temporary offer.

Instead of up front payments, SwiftKey is aiming to make its money from themed download packs. The new SwiftKey Store offers a place to customise your keyboard with fresh designs, which will continue to be added to over time (there are more than 30 right now).

Among the various tweaks and additions, the latest update also brings with it a crisp new default theme, some 800 emoji (the use of which SwiftKey’s engine can learn to predict), and an optional number row.

If you’re someone who’s already bought SwiftKey up front, you haven’t been forgotten. “To thank our users who have paid for SwiftKey Keyboard in the past,” notes a blog post on the SwiftKey website, “we’re offering you a Premier Pack of 10 new premium themes to download, worth $4.99, for free!”

While SwiftKey has encountered stiff opposition from Google’s own free Android keyboard app in recent times, it now has the unexpected prospect of opening out its services to iPhone and iPad users.

Last week the company confirmed that it would be taking advantage of Apple’s decision to allow third party keyboards onto the App Store in iOS 8.

“Are we going to build SwiftKey Keyboard for iOS 8? Of course we are. We’ve already started,” revealed company co-founders Ben Medlock and Jon Reynolds.

Read More: Best Android Apps 2014

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