Microsoft has been putting a lot of effort on trying to reach iOS and Android users by providing applications and services that seem to be more capable than features on its Windows Phone platform.
Apart from powerful mobile Office applications, this company focused its efforts on providing third-party keyboards. This was due to Apple’s decision to initially block developers from reaching this part of iOS, even though Android users had this option for a very long time. With the release of iOS 8, this situation changed.
This created a new opportunity for companies and independent developers, who successfully monetized their custom iOS keyboards.
One of the most successful companies in this field is SwiftKey, with highly-advanced keyboards available on several platforms. Interestingly enough, Microsoft acquired the London-based company a couple of months ago, for $250 million. With the release of Word Flow (available on the iOS App Store; free of charge), we can finally see a reason for this decision.
The Word Flow app is a project by Microsoft’s experimental division called Garage. This division is known for innovative and thought-provoking projects, usually designed as open-ended experiments. However, these are not beta projects, even though a number of these projects have finally found their way into other, highly complex, Microsoft’s apps and services.
Upon downloading Word Flow on your iPhone, you will have to enable it by visiting your Settings app, and allowing full access (Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards). Once that is done, you can start playing around with this powerful keyboard. By visiting the accompanying app, you can customize and create your own keyboard themes.
There is a selection of preloaded ones, with high-resolution background photos. If you don’t find anything interesting, the built-in guide will help you create your own theme in just a few taps.
The most interesting feature of the Word Flow app is one-handed typing.
The so-called Arc mode can be accessed by swiping the arc icons from either side of the keyboard. This will make the keyboard morph into an arc, providing you an easy and convenient way to type using one hand. This feature should be handy to those who use larger, 5.5-inch iPhones.
Aside from the Arc mode, the Word Flow keyboard also comes with its own version of Apple’s Quick Type. This feature is designed to learn your writing style and as a result it will predict words and provide suggestions. Since it’s designed to learn your vocabulary over time, you shouldn’t expect quick results. Once that happens, you can count on much faster typing, especially when combined with the Arc mode.
Word Flow is a free download from the iOS App Store, but it is currently limited to just one region – the United States. There is no word yet on broader availability, even though it wouldn’t be surprising if other iOS App Stores start offering this application soon.
Word Flow Keyboard - GIF,...
by Microsoft Corporation
Word Flow Keyboard - GIF,...
Word Flow for iPhone, a Microsoft Garage project, is a blazing fast keyboard that comes with search (GIFs, restaurants, and more), free customizable themes, swipe, and Arc mode for comfortable one-handed typing.
• Whether you’re tapping or swiping, Word Flow predicts what you’re trying to type and corrects mistakes. It even predicts things from the web, like GIFs, restaurants, and more.
• Word Flow intelligently suggests the next word in your sentence, and gets better at it over time, as it learns based on your typing patterns.
• With access to your Contacts, Word Flow predicts the names of your contacts so you can go even faster.
Personalized – just how you like it
• You can customize Word Flow background using one of the images included in the app, or use your own favorite image.
• All the images included with the app are free.
Best for one-handed typing: Switch to Arc mode and easily reach keys on larger screens for a more comfortable one-handed typing experience.
Search built into the keyboard:
• Easily find and share GIFs, images, and emojis to better express yourself
• Find Contacts – when you need to share that person’s phone number
• Look up restaurants, news, videos, facts, weather forecasts, and much more
When you find something you want to send, just tap it, and that result will automatically stay in your history to make it even easier to find it again. If a result becomes outdated or irrelevant, you can always remove or refresh it.
Word Flow on iOS is optimized for iPhone, and supports English language only. Not all features are available on iPad.
The Microsoft Garage is an outlet for experimental projects for you to try. Learn more at http://garage.microsoft.com.
Click the Gallery for more screens or the Info for additional information.