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Swype Keyboard Hits Sprint Nexus S 4G, We Go Hands On

If you're the owner of a Nexus S 4G  on Sprint, there's a treat coming your way. The carrier is rolling out an updated Swype keyboard with lots of new features. These include gesture-based shortcuts for commonly used text editing, plus commands to quickly launch popular apps like Twitter and Facebook.

At launch the Nexus S 4G was equipped with the stock Android 2.3 Gingerbread virtual keyboard. This new update not only brings Swype to the phone, a text input method which allows fast word creation by drawing lines through keys,  it boasts other new goodies.  Within messages, users can now drag their finger from the Swype key to letters to accomplish handy tasks such as Select All, Cut, Copy, and Paste.

Check out our hands-on impressions below as well as a demo video to see the new features in action.

The new Swype makes it easy to access your favorite apps. Drawing lines from the Swype key to other letter combos will launch Twitter, Facebook, and Google Maps. For instance, connecting the Swype key to "t" and "w" opens Twitter, while swiping Swype to "f" to "b" opens Facebook. Other interesting functions are automatic capitalization of proper nouns and user control of the Swype dictionary from inside the Swype keyboard settings.

We gave the new Swype keyboard a quick test drive on the Nexus S 4G. The shortcuts to copying, cutting, pasting, and selecting text are the most useful features because they go hand in hand with typing. However, we question the usefulness of gestures for launching apps like Facebook and Twitter from within the Swype keyboard. Most users will likely prefer to launch those apps from the home screen. Still, we'd like to see Swype add the ability to customize shortcuts for other apps.

Curious about how the new Swype keyboard works on the Nexus S 4G? Take a look at the video and judge for yourself.