Since it’s acquisition, Swiftkey has remained largely uninfluenced by Microsoft. The team has focused on important features like neural network capabilities, an improved UI, and more. Its latest update begins to show who’s behind the development.
Two months ago, Microsoft introduced Toolbar, a major upgrade to the app that introduced stickers and GIFs in an easy-to-access interface. It’s been working on further sticker content since, and the first set has some interesting references.
The first is a slew of Halo-related stickers, from Master Chief to The Covenant and Warthogs. They present animated and non-animated options, attempting to bring users passion for the game to their phones.
It’s not clear how big the overlap is between Halo players and SwiftKey users, but I suspect this will have quite a niche audience. However, the keyboard’s other addition should be much more familiar.
Microsoft has introduced its Skype emoticons to SwiftKey in sticker form. Though they break the norm somewhat, the emojis are well-loved by users due to their great animations and clear features.
The 24 additions mark the first time they’ve been seen outside of Skype, and it seems it will stay that way. Promotional material marks them as exclusive, so its unlikely they’ll come to Gboard or Messenger.
Unfortunately, iOS misses out once more as stickers aren’t available in that version. It’s not clear if Microsoft is planning to add the functionality or if it’s simply a restraint of the platform. The stickers also send as a giant GIF, so you might get some strange reactions.
You can grab the latest version of SwiftKey for Android from the Google Play store.