The popular Android-based Swype keyboard is getting a soccer makeover.
Starting today, Swype users will be able to personalize their keyboards with Major League Soccer-branded team themes. Whether you’re a Sounders or Timbers fan, you can now spice up your Swype keyboard with your team’s logo and colors.
Aaron Sheedy, VP of Mobile Product at Nuance Communications — which purchased Seattle-based Swype for $102.5 million in October 2011 — said that having more keyboard themes is the number one request from Swype’s user base.
“There has been a general trend of personalizing mobile devices for quite a while now,” Sheedy said. “This seems more true since hardware differentiation has stagnated a bit among the OEM’s. And since keyboards are used one out of every five minutes on a device, it’s an interesting opportunity for personalizing the experience.”
Sheedy also points out that 76 percent of MLS fans own smartphones, which is higher than the national average. Nuance, which is an official licensee of the MLS, is the first company to debut a pro sports-branded keyboard experience.
“We’re very interested to explore how this partnership can be a model to take globally,” he said.
It will be interesting to see how Android users — and soon iOS 8 owners — react to personalized keyboards. If it catches on, you can likely expect other categories to pick from outside of soccer and sports — music, movies, and art, for example.
The new themes can be purchased inside the just-updated paid Swype app for $1.99 each. Our personal favorite is the Sounders keyboard — perhaps we’ll see some in use at our big Sounders Day event tonight.