Home Can Nuance Help Bring Swype To the iPhone?

Can Nuance Help Bring Swype To the iPhone?

News broke last night that speech-to-text software creator Nuance has acquired mobile text software designer Swype for $102.5 million. This is a big merger in the information input vertical of mobile ecosystem as it combines two of the hottest and most used features on smartphones today.

This could be the first steps to bringing Swype to the iPhone. We lamented after the iPhone 4S announcement that Siri, the voice input “assistant” coming in iOS 5, should have been Swype. Apple was a good working relationship with Nuance and if the parties can figure out a good graphical interface for Swype on the iPhone, it may be the next important feature in iOS.

The news was broke by former TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington on his new blog Uncrunched. It was discovered in May that Apple was partnering with Nuance to bring speech-to-text to Mac OS X Lion. So, it is not unbelievable that the two could work together again to bring the popular Swype interface to iOS.

This comes down to whether or not Apple is open to providing options to users for things like input methods or notifications sounds. In the history of the iPhone, this is not something they have budged on. It amusing to be in a room with a group of people and hear the iOS text message notification and watch everybody check their phones only to find that the noise came from the television. App makers and designers have created third-party options for input and notifications but these are only available to those who have jail broken their iPhones and purchased through third-party application stores.

There is also the Android factor. Apple may not want to add Swype because of its popularity with its primary competition. Swype has been downloaded over 50 million times on Android devices. Yet, if Apple is going to outright copy Android notifications, the way it has with the new drop down menu in iOS 5, it might as well go all the way with Swype.

Check out Swype in action on a Symbian device from Nokia:

Even if Swype never comes to the iPhone, Nuance has made a very astute acquisition. Nuance was already the leader in speech-to-text technology, ahead of others like Vlingo, The acquisition gives Nuance the clear lead in input methods for mobile devices. With Swype as part of the team, Nuance has planted its flag to be the leader in the vertical for the foreseeable future.

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