Phone software takes the taps out of typing

A new technology called Swype allows users to glide a finger across the virtual keyboard of their mobile phone to spell words, rather than tapping out letters, reports the New York Times. Back in the 1990s, typing out “hello” on most cell phones required an exhausting 13 taps on the number keys, like so: 44-33-555-555-666. That was before inventor Cliff Kushler, based in Seattle, and a partner created software called T9, which could bring that number down to three by guessing the word being typed. Now, there is a new challenge to typing on phones: More phones are using virtual keyboards on a touch screen, replacing physical buttons. But pecking out a message on a small piece of glass is not so easy, and typos are common. So, Kushler thinks he has a solution once again. Swype’s software detects where a finger pauses and changes direction as it traces out the pattern of a word. The movements do not have to be precise, because the software calculates which words a user is most likely trying to spell. Kushler, who is chief technology officer of Swype, estimates that the software can improve even the nimblest text-messager’s pace by 20 to 30 percent…

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Challengers gain in important phone software fight

As smart phones increasingly appear alike, with high-end models mostly taking their cues from Apple Inc.’s iPhone, more and more it’s the software they run that makes a difference, reports the Associated Press. A growing number of operating systems are jostling for the attention of phone buyers and manufacturers. The winners will determine what our phones can do, which web sites we’re steered to, and which manufacturers will survive the next few years. The battle will be on display as wireless carriers and phone makers gather next week in Barcelona, Spain, for the industry’s largest trade show, Mobile World Congress. The CEO of Google Inc., suddenly a strong contender in phone software, will address the show. Also hoping to make a splash is Microsoft Corp., which is struggling to revitalize its software.

These are the contenders, starting with the largest worldwide market share: (continued)…

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