BlindType, a 3rd party keyboard for Android, has been acquired by Google. BlindType uses what could only be described as sorcery to determine what you want to type – even if you miss the keys completely. (Check out this demo of BlindType to get an idea of how it works.) The software was also developed for iOS, but Apple’s strict rules regarding “replicating existing functionality” will probably keep it from ever entering the App Store.
At the moment, there are a few major players in the Android alternate-keyboard arena: Swype, which is installed by default on many Motorola handsets, SwiftKey, which functions similarly to Swype, and now BlindType. The nature of Android encourages applications that replace key functions of the OS, which has both its pros and cons: Google may not be able to keep the system as streamlined as iOS, but it allows for a wide range of user-freedom.
Even as a die-hard Android fan, I believe that the stock keyboard on Android is nowhere as good as the one on iOS, but users should still have a choice of what they want to use on the platform of their choice. Apple’s recent changes to the App Store guidelines are a step in the right direction, but still doesn’t allow applications to change major parts of the OS.
Apple and Google have completely different philosophies about what can enter their respective application stores, but it would be in Apple’s best interest to at least review applications like BlindType – which would very beneficial to the iOS ecosystem – on a case by case basis.