This move mimics a similar shift in focus by SwiftKey back in June, when it too launched a store for premium themes. Except with SwiftKey, it also ditched its hitherto paid app to go completely free, thus relying entirely on in-app purchases to generate revenue through its flagship Android app.
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In Fleksy’s case, however, it shall continue to adopt its usual 30-day trial period, followed by a mandatory $3.99 upgrade if you want to continue using it (though you can currently grab it for half-price). Except now you can also pay for customizations and themes from a dedicated store, including ‘Deep Blue’ and ‘Liquid Sky’, though a free bonus theme is available too.
Premium not freemium
Fleksy uses what it calls ‘Geometric Intelligence’ to combat sloppy and inaccurate typing, predicting where it thinks you meant to hit on the keyboard based on your typing patterns. This, in theory, helps users type more quickly.
Although Fleksy has offered a standalone iOS keyboard alternative for a while too, letting you export text to other services, including Facebook and Twitter, it’s one of many companies looking to capitalize on Apple opening to third-party keyboards this coming fall. And with today’s move on Android, it gives us a better idea of what to expect when Fleksy officially unveils its system-wide incarnation for iOS 8, though it has already given a glimpse of things to come.
Rather than going free, Fleksy is looking to “double down” on its premium business, with the Fleksy Store available to premium customers on both Android and iOS when it launches later this year.
“We have seen our core product grow impressively, both in terms of downloads and conversion to paid users, every month these last months,” explains Ioannis Verdelis, co-founder and COO at Fleksy. “This is even while other competitors have made their own products free. In fact we’ve grown a little faster since they did. So we see no need to go free based on our current traction.”
There’s also an underlying sense here that through betting on premium – i.e. not offering a free version – this somehow attaches more value to their proposition, and they could well be on to some thing here. “The leading products have a premium attached to them, and people understand this,” continues Verdelis.
But Verdelis actually gives a third, and perhaps more subtle, reason for not going freemium. “In the coming months, you will see the first devices shipping with Fleksy pre-installed in a number of OEM (original equipment manufacturers) partnerships we have done,” he says. “OEMs too are looking for a premium, next-gen keyboard to differentiate their devices. Fleksy will remain this product, rather than ‘just another predictive keyboard’ that customers can get free from the store anyway.”
So while Fleksy, on the surface, seems to be following the mighty SwiftKey down the road to monetizing through in-app content purchases, it’s very much sticking to its premium guns across the board. But only time will tell if this pays off in the long run.
You can grab Fleksy 3.0 from Google Play now, and with today’s update Fleksy also features 17 new languages which were made available in beta earlier this month.