Tuesday 22 June 2010

Say no to texting and yes to Swype

Tapping out a text message could become a thing of the past due to new 'Swype' technology.

Instead of pressing individual letters, mobile users drag their finger from one letter to the other in a fluid, faster motion.

The computer then calculates which word was intended by the combination of the letters touched upon.

The movements do not even have to be precise because the software can work it out.

According to U.S. inventor Cliff Kushler, 'Swype' can increase the speed of even the most nimble texter by up to 30 per cent

He said the technology could have an enormous impact and be used anywhere people have to use a keyboard, such as video games, sat-nav devices and ticket machines.

Mr Kushler has already invented T9 software, or predictive text, which guesses the word people are thinking of as they text, and thinks 'Swype' is the next step.

'We've squeezed the desktop computer, complete with keyboard and mouse, into something that fits in a pocket,' he said.

'The information bandwidth has become very constricted. I thought, if we can find a better way to input that information, it could be something that would really take off.

'The most important thing was that it could accurately figure out which word you wanted to spell.

'It needed to work no matter what.'

Palm pilots sought to liberate mobile users from texting, but they still demanded that you write each letter on to the device with a special plastic pen.

T9 technology went one step further, and now 'Swype' can improve even that. In demonstrations, hurdles like capitals and double letters are overcome by pausing or doing a squiggle, while spacing and punctuation are automatic.

Won Park, director of United States technology sourcing at Samsung said: 'It could become the de facto standard for tablets, next-generation TVs or next-generation remote controls. It has tremendous potential.'

Swype is now being used on seven smartphones in the U.S. across all major mobile phone companies and by the end of the year, Mr Kushler says its software will be on more than 50 models worldwide.

Deals with Apple for the iPhone are some way off, as is the technology's arrival in the UK.

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