Google’s Android OS for mobile devices offers a ridiculous amount of variety when it comes to alternatives to pre-included software. Whether it’s replacing the stock launcher, the music app, camera app, dialer, browser and keyboard, it’s basically impossible to not find a third-party alternative that doesn’t completely fit your needs.

When it comes to keyboards, there are about a dozen different ones available. From innovative ones like SlideKey and Swype to traditional ones like the ICS Keyboard, AI Type and Go Keyboard; there’s something for everyone.

Now, TouchType’s SwiftKey is one of the most popular keyboards on the Google Play Store, and for good reason: it offers arguably the most smooth typing experience with outstanding auto-correct and prediction technology that adjusts itself according to your typing style.

TouchType recently released a Beta version of SwiftKey 3 and we go hands-on in this post. Check it out after the jump.

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The news comes straight from SwiftKey’s official blog where they discuss new features included in the Beta version. We’ve discussed them below!

Smart Space Technology, and Backup Support

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SwiftKey 3 makes use of a new “Smart Space” technology which is able to figure out when the user misses a space (a commonplace mistake). When it does so, it can separate out your words and turn text like “thequickbrownfoxjumped” to “the quick brown fox jumped”. According to reports from around the internet, it is possible to type whole short sentences without ever using the space button.

A Larger Spacebar

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While the Smart Space tech is very accurate, it’s not something you can rely on completely. So, TouchType has included a larger spacebar with SwiftKey 3 so that your chances of missing the key decreases.

Backup Support 

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Thirdly, SwiftKey now integrates with Android’s built-in app data backup option so that whatever the app learns about you and your typing style never gets lost when you shift to a new phone or a new ROM. This data is backed up with the Google Account associated with your device.

New Themes

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In its older versions, SwiftKey offered limited variety of themes that had their own unique look. Now, in order to blend in better with Ice Cream Sandwich’s “Holo UI” theme, the keyboard comes with two new themes Cobalt and Holo. Holo almost exactly matches with the default ICS keyboard in terms of looks while Cobalt offers a more unique look.

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I am a big fan of the default keyboard included in Ice Cream Sandwich, but SwiftKey 3’s much better auto-correct and prediction technology is almost enough to make me switch over. I just have one issue with it: the SwiftKey key at the bottom left of the keyboard. I frequently, accidentally tap it when looking for the numeric key. I, along with many others, believe that the numeric key should go to the far left of the keyboard and there should be a dedicated comma button.

SwiftKey 3’s Beta is available in the form of an APK file that you can sideload onto your device. This requires you to first enable Unknown sources from Settings > Applications (Gingerbread) or Settings > Security (Ice Cream Sandwich). Once enabled, all you have to do is download the APK from the official thread on [SwiftKey VIP Forums] after signing up and open it. Android will handle the rest.

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