Microsoft is expected to drop the eagerly-awaited Windows Phone 8.1 update in the near future, and with several features already having been revealed, it looks as though the Redmond giant is making great strides to improve the keyboard typing experience. According to a report over at The Verge, which cites "sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans," the company is in the process of developing a greatly-enhanced keyboard which will offer a broader feature set similar to that of the popular Swype Android touch-type pad.

The keyboard will apparently be baked into the forthcoming OS update, and with a video demo of the new feature in action also doing the rounds, Windows Phone 8.1 users could soon be enjoying a much more efficient, functional and precise typing experience.

HTC 8x

The video clip of the updated keyboard also showcases a new prediction engine, which looks more powerful and intuitive than ever before, and as a long-time fan and user of Swype, SwiftKey Keyboard et al, such an implementation would be great for the Windows Phone ecosystem.

There’s no doubt that Microsoft’s platform is struggling thanks to the dominance of the Big Two in the mobile game – iOS and Android. However, Windows Phone already offers a slick, alternative user experience, and the introduction of this kind of feature would only but boost WP’s credentials.

This new keyboard looks robust indeed, and as well as making some great predictive suggestions akin to Swype, the ability to literally swipe through letters when typing words would – in many respects – render it a near clone of Swype proper; not that this is a bad thing, mind.

The final version of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.1 is expected to be released early in April, with this projected roll-out coinciding with the BUILD 2014 Developer Conference on the 2nd.

Aside from the keyboard, which is a very welcome addition to the fold, Microsoft will be making a host of other tweaks to its mobile operating system, ranging from minor alterations to larger-scale overhauls of certain aspects.

Now helmed by Satya Nadella, Microsoft is looking to move in a new direction, and with the company still considered third in the mobile industry’s battle of the major platforms, Nadella and his team will be looking to make a lasting statement with Windows Phone 8.1 in order to substantiate this challenge.

(Source: TheVerge)

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