Microsoft is shutting down Word Flow. The inventive one-handed keyboard app exclusive to iPhone is being de-listed from the App Store, and the company is instructing users to go download SwiftKey instead.
“The Word Flow experiment is now complete!” the app’s page on Microsoft’s site reads. “We encourage you to download the SwiftKey Keyboard from the App Store. The SwiftKey product team is frequently building and evaluating new features for SwiftKey and shipping updates.”
Word Flow was developed by Microsoft’s experimental Garage division, and was introduced to the iPhone in April of last year. For a long time, the keyboard was exclusive to Windows Phone. An Android release was teased after Word Flow made its way to Apple’s handsets, but that never came to fruition.
At one point, Word Flow was used to set the world record for fastest text message typed — though that record was later broken by Fleksy. We gave Word Flow the thumbs (thumb?) up in our quick video review last year, saying it was especially useful for firing off one-handed messages on the ginormous iPhone 6S Plus.
So, where does the future of one-handed typing go from here? And what are happy Word Flow users to do? With Microsoft having acquired SwiftKey last year, it’s quite possible this is the first step in offering a similar mode in the much more well-known multiplatform keyboard app. As one of Microsoft Garage’s most successful experiments, we’re hoping this isn’t the last we’ve seen of it.
Speaking of Garage, the team has been routinely pumping out some of the company’s most interesting and endearing apps over the past several years, from fun photo-captioning app Sprinkles to Dictate, which lets you talk to your desktop Office programs, like Word and Excel.
Word Flow isn’t the first high-profile Garage app to meet a premature demise. At the beginning of the year, Microsoft shut down Cache, a sort-of clipboard-meets-digital organization tool available for both iOS and Windows. To date, Cache’s features have yet to show up in another app — though Microsoft hinted at the time that they could very well appear again down the line.