Swype gained international attention — not to mention a Guinness Book World record holder and millions of customers — for its super-fast and intuitive mobile text input system for Android devices. It became so popular that many in the tech industry started referring to Swype as a verb, like: “I prefer Swyping over tapping.” That’s one of the reasons that Nuance Communications gobbled up the Seattle company last year for just over $100 million.
But there’s now a new Swype making waves these days, or should we say Swÿp. That’s the name chosen by MIT Media Labs researchers Natan Linder and Alexander List for a new project that allows users to drag files with a finger between two connected devices.
But, what about that name? Isn’t that just too close for comfort to Swype.
I asked Swype CEO Mike McSherry — now an exec at Nuance — if he’d seen the new project. He had not, but agreed that the Swÿp name was awfully similar.
“The naming is quite close and not sure how we feel about it yet,” said McSherry.
As I said, the Swÿp technology looks pretty cool. (As you can see in the video below).
I am not a trademark lawyer, but I’d think a name change might be in order if the researchers want to take it any further. A spokeswoman for the MIT Media Lab did not immediately have answers to our questions, but we’ll update the post as we hear more.
UPDATE: Here’s what Swÿp co-creator Alexander List had to say about the name.
“The Swype keyboard is an awesome product familiar to many users of Android, but “Swÿp” both adequately describes the interaction between our users with their devices, and is playful while uniquely memorable. As for the fairness of our bid in the homophone contest, we tend to carry as verb more than as a noun. We think it will stick.”
Meanwhile, here’s the Swÿp technology in action.