Swype is finally making its Android keyboard available on the Google Play store for easier downloading and installation. It's the first time that Swype can be easily installed — previously the keyboard had required a user to sign up for a Beta and uncheck the "unknown sources" box deep within Android's settings. The keyboard will cost $0.99 "for a limited time," though there's no word yet on how long that will last nor what the price will be after it's over.
It's an aggressive move from Nuance, which purchased Swype in October of 2011. First, it's cheaper than its main competitor, SwiftKey, by three bucks. Second, until now Swype has been pursuing a business strategy that targeted carriers and manufacturers in lieu of direct sales to consumers. It worked quite well, leading to over 500 million total handsets with Swype installed in one form or another. However, recently SwiftKey started making inroads into Swype's core business, scoring deals to power devices ranging from the BlackBerry Z10 to the Samsung Galaxy S4. With SwiftKey barging into Nuance's turf, it's only natural that Swype would return the favor and launch on the Google Play store.
All of the features that were previously baked into Swype's Beta keyboard should be on the official store version, including various methods of text input and voice recognition powered by its Dragon back end. it should be available for download later today.