Twitter releases code for encrypting Android texts; Swype updates Beta

by Kristen Nicole

When Twitter acquired Whisper Systems last month it was unclear what their intentions were for the encryption software maker. But a release from Twitter this week sheds some light on their goals with Whisper’s TextSecure. Released on Github as an open source project, TextSecure is now available for developers to use for SMS encryption on Android devices. Encryption can be added for all sent and received texts from an Android phone, and can encrypt texts for transmission if they’re being sent to another TextSecure user.

It’s part of Twitter’s goals to provide a more secure experience for Android texts, which are often used for sending in updates to Twitter. In appealing to the developer community, Twitter’s also doing what it knows best — getting others to build out the service. Twitter has plans to make Whisper’s other software projects open source as well, though no details on expected release dates have been revealed. One of the more revered technologies from Whisper is WhisperCore 0.5, which offers an array of security tools for the Nexus S and Nexus One Android handsets.

Swype brings Dragon Dictate to Android

Twitter’s not the only one updating software for Android. Swype rolled out a major update to its beta this week, marking its first big revision since it was acquired by Nuance earlier this year. Taking advantage of its new parent company, Swype has incorporated Nuance’s flagship Dragon Dictate technology into its keyboard, in place of Google’s voice recognition tool. This is also the first time Dragon’s been available on Android, limited to iOS devices until now. Swype supports English, French, German, Italian and Spanish, with more languages expected for next year. Their language algorithm, always being tweaked, has been improved to better predict what you’re trying to say, learning your speech patterns and remembering phrases for later use.

Nuance, which is rumored to have contributed some of its technology to the iPhone 4S’s Siri tool, is making headway on Android’s OS. The race to launch Siri-like technology on Android phones has brought an onslaught of releases, and even speculation that Google’s working on its own Siri competitor in a project called Majel. Nuance is putting itself in a pretty good position to deeply incorporate more speech recognition and tasks with Android devices, especially by using Swype’s widely used app.

Toymaker sues Asus over Transformer tablet

In other Android news, it seems no one is safe from copyright infringement lawsuits. Asus is under assault from Hasbro, which is suing the Android tablet maker over their latest Transformer Prime device. If you’ve seen the Transformer movies in recent years (or are a child of the ‘80s), you know that Optimus Prime is a lead character from the Transformers family, though it’s doubtful many consumers would expect Asus’ tablet to re-configure itself into a talking robot. The Transformer Prime’s most futuristic feat is support for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, a first for Android tablets on the market.