SwiftKey's April Fools' Day prank is actually a hidden feature

Talk about great April Fools' Day pranks. SwiftKey got us big time! The developers of the keyboard app “released” an outlandish new feature that actually exists.


“We were recently named one of the most innovative mobile companies in the world and our last major release, SwiftKey 4, made typing even faster, easier and more personalized,” wrote SwiftKey’s team in a blog. “It made us consider – can we push the innovation further and take typing in a whole new direction? In fact, can we take it in every conceivable direction and add a touch of pizazz at the same time?”


In a video, Dr. Ben Medlock, SwiftKey co-founder and CTO, showed off a new feature in the typing app called “Tilt”. By activating this feature, you can turn your smartphone’s screen into a tiny pinball type machine. The typing is done by a tin-coloured pinball that leaves a colourful trail behind it. The pinball hits the letters according to how you tilt your screen and forms words.

This is fun!

This is fun!



The video was released on April Fools' Day and was clearly meant as a gag. In the video, SwiftKey employees show off some Harlem Shake-esque moves while tilting their screens, forming words. What is great about this entire exercise is that SwiftKey actually took the pains of incorporating this feature into the app. Kind of like an Easter egg, this feature was already present in the app in the March 26 update.


To activate this feature on your SwiftKey Keyboards, you need to type in “Tilt” and long-press on the word in the prediction drawer. Once you click on “SwiftKey Tilt”, the pinball will appear on the screen and you can move it around as you please!


SwiftKey 4 was released earlier this year with smarter features, which the company claimed makes typing on a touchscreen faster, easier and more accurate. A new feature called SwiftKey Flow was released with this update that allowed users to slide their fingers across the screen for faster and smoother prediction instead of hitting letters out. Without the need to touch the screen, SwiftKey Tilt seems like the next great move. “This frees up thumbs to make even quicker progress through a text, email or Tweet. It also offers users an eye-catching way to interact with their devices and is fully compatible with both the Macarena and the Harlem Shake,” the team wrote.


The feature really does work although it is far, far from being accurate. The pinball moves way too quickly, and before you even know, it has entered text that makes pretty much no sense. But it does make us wonder if SwiftKey plans to improve on this manner of text input. It makes typing feel like a game and would make writing that mail to your angry boss a lot more fun.  


Download SwiftKey for Android from the Play Store here.

Published Date: Apr 02, 2013 11:22 AM | Updated Date: Apr 02, 2013 11:22 AM