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Mobile Phone Predictive Technology Coming of Age?

Alex Christie

18 February 2010

I’m always on the lookout for something reliable to help me enter text quickly on mobile phones. I have high hopes for voice-recognition software but I personally can’t see it happening here any time soon.

Given their diminutive screen and keyboard size, a tool to aid text input on mobile phones would be really useful, and right now it’s not helped by bad predictive text software that’s widely available.

On my mobile, I have predictive text permanently switched off because I always spend more time selecting or deleting than actually typing.

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As another Mobile World Congress Expo at Barcelona comes to an end, and a flurry of exciting products get launched, an interesting predictive text technology is officially launched by a British based company.  The technology is called Swiftkey, but is also known as Touch Type Express. It is also a Mobile User Experience Awards 2009 nominee and is supposed to make predictive text really simple to use.

How it works:

Using a touch-type interface; the technology lists a bunch of predicted words (the actual number, depending on your mobile phone screen size), so you just pick the correct word from that list with a single tap.

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The Technology:

Launched for the Android market, the creator reckons the technology will accurately predict the user’s next word without any inputs by 40%, and a single input by 70%, and even more with more inputs.

It also learns as you use the technology, returning more likely words you will use next over time.

Scanning around 5 million English words, it certainly does a lot of work to predict what you are going to say.

Where can we get our hands on it?

The company aims to roll this out as preinstalled technology for companies like HTC.

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