Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 21, 2010 03:00 PM
If you have any trouble typing on a smartphone device, there's some good news. You can now Swype, a patented texting technology you can check out in the Samsung spot above.
Inventor Cliff Kushler, along with research scientist Randy Marsden, consider this new technology a major breakthrough that could help billions worldwide. Kushler knows of what he speaks, as he also launched T9 in 1999, a technology incorporated in some four billion wireless devices to enable typing longer words based on ‘guessing’ the word being typed.
His latest bright idea, Swype, enables a user to glide across a keyboard rather than tap out every letter. “We’ve squeezed the desktop computer, complete with keyboard and mouse, into something that fits in a pocket. 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,” Kushler told the New York Times.
Leveraging the full qwerty keyboard, Swype’s software detects a finger’s pause and changes direction to which words a user is most likely trying to spell. Punctuation and spelling are automatic; double letters and CAPS are indicated with a squiggle or a pause. (Watch a demo below.)
Kushler, now CTO, gained early insights in 2001 by working with people with disabilities. It took seven years to bring Swype to market in its present iteration. Currently in use on seven smartphones in the U.S. and available to all major wireless carriers, the software will soon be on more than 50 models worldwide.
His T9 technology was purchased by AOL in 1999 for $350 million and then acquired by by Nuance, known for speech recognition software. Nuance recently acquired ShapeWriter, software that matches patterns from a touch-screen keyboard with commonly written words.
Swype also faces competition from SlideIT, which offers touch-screen apps with input from fingers or stylus. Kushler believes that Swype can improve text-messaging performance by 20-30%.
Franklin Page, a Samsung employee, recently proved him right by garnering the Guinness World record of 35.54 seconds for fastest text message on a touchscreen mobile phone by entering the following: “The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human."
Yes, kids: the days of "the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" are long gone.