A couple of days ago, ModMyi reported that Swype had been ported to iOS via a beta version. Developed by Andrew Liu (@WyndWarrior), the intent of this build was to bring Swype to iOS for the jailbreak community. ModMyi was the first to report this find, and the article caught the eye of Swype Inc, the company behind the initial innovation, technology, and the product Swype. Because the name "Swype" was used inappropriately without permission and the newly released application was not endorsed by the company, they wanted to state that what had recently been released was not a port of the official Swype product and was in no way affiliated with Swype Inc. We spoke to Brian Resnik - Community Relations Specialist at Swype who clarified his and Swype's stance on the ordeal and the original article posted:
Originally Posted by Brian Resnik;
The key components to note from Brian's statement are:
- This version released via a repository on Cydia is in no way affiliated with the official Swype product or related to Swype Inc.
- The team over at Swype haven't concluded whether this application is a "hacked" version of Swype, however it appears that the developer wrote some of his own code to emulate a Swype-like experience.
- As the Swype team was not involved with the development of this application, they can't vouch for the integrity and security of this application.
- The interest shown from the iOS community wanting Swype is exciting. However, Swype still needs to protect their brand if their code and patents are being used.
- Although this application shows that Swype can be done on iOS, this release misses the most staple features of Swype: word replacement and editing. For this reason, a Swype-like application will never run the same because the keyboard API's need to be available from Apple in order to get the full experience.
For further clarification, we spoke briefly with Mike McSherry, CEO of Swype Inc, on Friday over phone to hear his position on the jailbreak "Swype" application and what the company is doing in response to the release.
JOSH: How'd you first find out about this release?
MIKE: My team and I actively follow Google, Twitter, and other places in regards to our brand and product, Swype. We first heard about this release through your recent ModMyi article and took our first steps from there. The information was passed on to the developer team for further investigation and testing of this newly released application. I am, along with my team, are conscious of our brand and put that priority high on our list. Although our goal is not to admonish or alter development in relation to Swype, if news of people using our patents, code, or brand name come up, it is in our best interest to protect and uphold our intellectual property.
JOSH: I spoke with Brian Resnik, Community Relations Specialist from Swype earlier this morning and he mentioned that so far, there is no indication whether the application released is a hacked version or just simply a Swype-like implementation. Is investigation still under way and what has been discovered so far if so?
MIKE: To be honest, it is not worth our while at this point to continue investigation, unless it regards some type of legal action. Our team here at Swype already has a working version of Swype on iOS that we use for business development purposes. For now, our development team has found no indication that this specific implementation has any Swype coding.
JOSH: What are you feelings on the jailbreak community taking the Swype idea and implementing it on iOS? Has the excitement from the jailbreak community spurred any feelings of intrigue from members and developers at Swype?
MIKE: Knowing that the iDevice community is interested in bringing Swype to iOS is exciting. I am always flattered to see interest in Swype wherever it may be. However, we want to protect our brand and make sure that Swype's reputation is displayed correctly. This recently released Swype-like application is a great example. Although we're pleased to see interest from iOS users, after testing the application, we found it to be buggy. I did not test it personally but people on my team have. As a result, people who have tested this application can make statements saying that "it's buggy, doesn't work, it lacks features," or statements along those lines. We in no way want our Swype brand to be shown in a negative light as this application in no way reflects how the official Swype technology works. So when words such as "ported" are used to describe this Swype-like application, they are used incorrectly because this application is not a direct port or a re-designed official version of Swype.
JOSH: Have discussions with Apple been made about incorporating Swype into native iOS? If so, what progress has been made in the possibility of implementing it in the future?
MIKE: Talks with Apple have been made, yes, but as I have mentioned, keyboard API has not been released or given to us yet. On the other hand, our product has actually been a strong factor to deter people from iOS and bring them to Android. Swype is installed on 40% of all Android devices on the market, which include numerous phones and tablet devices. Various companies, websites, reviewers, and others have claimed that Swype is a top feature that sparks people to choose Android initially or to switch from iOS to Android. Our business model to date has been OEM pre-load. The position we're in on the market scheme has been beneficial for our success as a company. Our primary focus currently is advancing our market share and spread with companies that have given us full support in regards to integration.
JOSH: Have ideas such as an AppStore application or an official jailbreak application been entertained if Swype is not planning on being native in iOS in the near future?
MIKE:Ideas of this nature have crossed our minds, but when it all comes down to it, it is all about resource attention. Hiring developers to meet the needs of our expansion in the current market we are in as is has been difficult. We can't seem to hire enough developers to keep this advancement on the move. For this reason, we need to stay focused on the task at hand until Apple opens their keyboard API, then we would be able to continue iOS development further. Due to the deep integration required for Swype to run proficiently, we want Apple's full support. That way our product can run as seamlessly and flawlessly as possible for the user. Our team does not have any engineers working directly with the jailbreak community so I can't make a comment on the nature of Cydia or the jailbreak community itself. However, from a marketing standpoint, extending to the jailbreak community is not in our plans at this current time. Even though approximately 6-10% of all iDevices are jailbroken, we need the keyboard API in order to give the full Swype experience.
[NOTE: 6-10% has been confirmed by Jay Freeman (@saurik): number of devices can not be estimated]
Because of this, it would not be optimal at this time to release an official jailbreak application of Swype as it would not be able to perform with all the staple features such as the word replacement, editing, and many others. The keyboard API is the key to our advancement into iOS integration.
JOSH: What are your next steps in regards to further investigating this application and the developer?
MIKE: We're not looking to pursue this any further at this point. I will be disappointed if I find out that the developer used our Swype brand without permission however. If this happens, then we will look into pursuing this issue.
And a final note before our discussion ended:
Originally Posted by Mike McSherry;
For more information about Swype Inc. and their product, visit the Swype website. Swype Inc. is also reachable on Facebook and Twitter.
Source(s): Mike McSherry, Geekwire, Jay Freeman, Swype Inc., Swype - Facebook, Swype - Twitter