Windows Phone 8.1's Word Flow feature breaks world record for fastest text on a touchscreen

Windows Phone 8.1 was finally announced early last week, and its most hyped feature by far is the new Cortana voice-controlled assistant. But the update also has a slew of other features, including Word Flow -- Microsoft's answer to the popular virtual keyboard Swype.

Unlike normal on-screen keyboards, Word Flow allows you to type text messages with the swipe of a finger. In addition to ease of access, this "slide-to-text" feature is favored for its noticeable speed over traditional texting, and Microsoft's Word Flow may just be the fastest on-screen keyboard in the world: The app shattered the Guinness World Record for "fastest time to type a text message on a touchscreen" with a speed of just 18.43 seconds.

According to Guinness World Records, previous title-holders have clocked in at speeds ranging from 35.54 seconds to 18.53 seconds. In order to be considered for the world record, contestants must type the phrase "The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack humans." - not an easy feat even on a fully-fledged keyboard.

Windows Phone 8.1 is slated for release on April 14th, and there's a lot of hype to keep us occupied until then. Between Cortana, Word Flow and the rest of the new features included in Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft's mobile game is looking strong for 2014.

You can see a video of the record-breaking text below:

Source: UberGizmoImage via Microsoft

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Try as I might, I could not find a single mention of this splendid nugget on other "mainstream" tech sites, specifically CNET and Engadget. Easy enough to read about "5 year old breaks Xbox security", but nothing about this, and this is exactly the kind of consumer-positive news that would help promote WP. It goes with out saying that, if the record was set on an iPhone, every news service in North America would be helping sell iPhones! Go WP8.1!!

margrave said,
So swipe for winphone? It's been needed.

plenty of new features coming to wp, some i agree were 'needed' while others are just nice to have. I'd personally class swipe style keyboard as nice to have as i know plenty of users that wouldn't use it (don't like change, didn't use t3 on old phones, create fb groups when a button moves etc.), but some others like action center are real needed features just for parity reasons with other mobile OS's (people jumping from android/ios to wp notice instantly there is no central notifications and seem to not like it).

i say needed as in needed for growth reasons, i personally like the os as it is and a lot of new features I'd class as nice to have for myself, IE11 is one that i would say is needed though as its likely the most used app and needed updating.

duddit2 said,

plenty of new features coming to wp.... .

And great features being removed.

The decision to throw WP developers under the bus in favor of Desktop WinRT is taking the platform backward in many ways.

I only hope that the Unified Project proves to be more valuable that what it seems today for WP devs.

deadonthefloor said,

And great features being removed.

The decision to throw WP developers under the bus in favor of Desktop WinRT is taking the platform backward in many ways.

I only hope that the Unified Project proves to be more valuable that what it seems today for WP devs.


How are developers thrown under the bus ? I seem to remember that Silverlight apps will still run on 8.1.

I guess the decision to go to winrt is the best decision they could have made for WP and in fact to me is by far the biggest new feature of WP 8.1 nothing else comes close.

deadonthefloor said,

The decision to throw WP developers under the bus in favor of Desktop WinRT is taking the platform backward in many ways.

XNA and Silverlight apps from 2010 still work. They added new ways to make apps, but they haven't thrown anyone under the bus by removing anything.

rfirth said,
.....

This time around.

The message was pretty clear to me that if you really want to be on all screens, rearchitect using the Universal Project + Xamarin.

sjaak327 said,
the decision to go to winrt is the best decision they could have made for WP and in fact to me is by far the biggest new feature of WP 8.1 nothing else comes close.

I agree. However if you listen to the developer Q&A after some of the WP build sessions they feel jilted and left out. They call the move to the true Windows Runtime to be a huge step backward. I'm just giving those folks a voice here.

And to add to the above, They indeed could and should include the detection into applications like Notepad and desktop IE (read applications that are developed and included into the operating system) but for say Firefox on the desktop to offer this, Mozilla would need to add support, and this goes for any third party app on the desktop.

I do indeed agree that this swype keyboard should be included into Windows 8.1.

Yes, this needs to come to Windows too, and for heaven's sake Microsoft fix the keyboard-not-auto-popping-up-in-desktop-mode issue in Update 2 at least. Here's hoping...

V23 said,
I hope they bring this to the Surface devices.

I expect lots of features we see in WP8.1 or in 8.1 or whatever future versions we get will find their way between the two in time. I have no doubt KB improvements will be one of those things and also things like Cortana should come to Windows as well.

Romero said,
Yes, this needs to come to Windows too, and for heaven's sake Microsoft fix the keyboard-not-auto-popping-up-in-desktop-mode issue in Update 2 at least. Here's hoping...

That seems to be very very unlikely. Naturally that keyboard doesn't just pop up without the application having to detect that touch is available. Now this is an easy feat in any WinRT app, it might also be easy to do in Win32 (Office 2013 is an example) but all the other win32 apps most likely have to be changed to include the detection.

This of course isn't going to happen.

sjaak327 said,
all the other win32 apps most likely have to be changed to include the detection.

This of course isn't going to happen.

No, if they modify the code for the Windows Common Controls such as textboxes to make them touch-aware then that will suffice for 99% of use cases. Only things left will be custom controls implemented by Win32 app devs themselves.

Romero said,
and for heaven's sake Microsoft fix the keyboard-not-auto-popping-up-in-desktop-mode issue in Update 2 at least. Here's hoping...

Omg yes please it's driving me nuts!

PeterF said,
Was that an entry model Lumia 520 they used for breaking the record?

They stated it is the 520, the lowest end and slowest WP8 available.

Go look at the 520 specs compared to the previous record holder the S4, massive hardware difference.

*My Guess* (They used because it is the slowest WP8 phone, so they can later use a faster phone if there are any credible challengers.)

Mobius Enigma said,

*My Guess* (They used because it is the slowest WP8 phone, so they can later use a faster phone if there are any credible challengers.)
Thanks for my first laugh of the day :D

autohotkey:

SEND The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack humans.

can't beat that.

HawkMan said,
sure if you know the text before the competition, which they don't.
They do actually. It is a well-known phrase for testing input speed.

Thief000 said,
:D I wonder if that's the weirdest thing people have stored...

That rather invalidates the test then. It should be an unknown phrase to discount possible hidden cheating within the code that lets it bring up the word matches faster.

Wholeheartedly agree with you. This a pretty much a quick brown fox, but there was nothing stored here so I consider it a legit effort.

FloatingFatMan said,

That rather invalidates the test then. It should be an unknown phrase to discount possible hidden cheating within the code that lets it bring up the word matches faster.

Really, after a long period of testing with the S4 winning this last year, it is now an invalid test?

If they were using the auto-suggest that could be biased, you might have a point. They weren't.

Take it up with Guinness.

Edited by Mobius Enigma, Apr 7 2014, 8:17am :