Swype, which is a new way of inputting text based on drawing on a touch screen display that was created by the guy who invented T9, Cliff Kushler, just got $5.6 million in a second round of funding from Nokia Growth Partners, Samsung Ventures and Benaroya Capital. Swype has been in development for 7 years, and so far it has only shipped on one phone, but that doesn’t discourage Mike McSherry, Swype’s CEO, who says: “the level of confidence shown by investors in our series b, especially coming from two of the largest device manufacturers in the world and a returning investor, demonstrates the viability of our product and the known added value it can bring to mobile devices.”
There is a trend towards QWERTY devices, Nokia themselves showed a chart (below) that shows by the end of 2010 a relatively few amount of their smartphones will have a standard 10 digit keyboard. Thanks to the iPhone, and users wanting to consume more and more data on the go, large touch screen devices will soon be the preferred form factor.
Judging by the demo of Swype below it looks impressive enough, but I’m filing this under “must try before I buy”:
And here is a 15 month old video with Cliff Kushler demoing Swype himself:
Update: Nokia has issued a press release, here is a quote from John Gardner, partner at Nokia Growth Partners:
“UI technology is a key part of our view of the growing mobile market. We are delighted to participate in this round of funding for Swype, enabling them to bring their cutting-edge technology to more mobile and touch-screen devices.”