It is always a nice surprise when a paid app becomes free. If you have been eying up SwiftKey, the time up upgrade your keyboard is now –the $3.99 price-tag has been eliminated and the app can now be downloaded for free (unless you are using Amazon’s app store, as the company is still in talks with them to make the change). Making the move to a freemium model means that you can grab the app at no charge, but additional content is available for purchase after the fact (currently this means additional themes to personalize the look of your keyboard with various colours, key shapes and trail colours: priced at $0.99 each, $2.99 for 5 or $4.99 for 10).
Branding itself as the “fastest and easiest way to type,” SwiftKey offers personalized predictions (trying to read your mind, learning your patterns over time in an effort to become more accurate), smarter autocorrect (like properly inserting missed spaces between words), customized layouts, emoji predictions and more!
In an interview with TechCrunch, SwiftKey co-founder and CTO Ben Medlock indicated that a key reason for the change is the ability to reach a much wider user base (not to mention being able to make deals with device makers), but he also noted that the growing trend of freemium apps was also a trigger (with many studies indicating the best monetization opportunities come from this model). It likely goes without saying that the ability to add third-party keyboards into iOS 8 was also very motivating: millions of iOS users will soon be eager to try out any other keyboard they can get their hands on, particularly one that doesn’t cost them anything up front.
For those that have already paid for SwiftKey, the consolation is that the company assures their users that they will not have to pay again for any functionality that they already have –plus they are offering a loyalty bonus featuring a free pack of premium themes to download.