When those giant cell phones first arrived on the scene in the 1980s, it took an exhausting 13 taps on the number keys to say “hello”. But thanks to inventor Cliff Kushler, T9 offered a faster and easier way to send a message. As you probably already know, T9 can guess the word the user is attempting to write after just three manually typed letters. But with the advent of new cell phones, like the iPhone, that uses touch-screen technology, typos are becoming increasingly more frequent.
The problem with touch-screen technology is that it is difficult to poke the appropriate letter on the glass screen each time and have it be accurate. But yet again Mr. Kushler believes he has a solution to this dilemma. His new technology, developed with a fellow research scientist, would allow users to glide their fingers over the screen to spell out a word, rather than pecking at each individual key.
That new technology is called Swype and is able to detect where a finger pauses or changes directions as it traces out the pattern of a word. Unlike the previous touch-screen dilemma, the user does not need to be precise in their taps because Swype can calculate which word a user is most likely trying to spell. What’s even better is that Swype automatically capitalizes words and puts in the spaces. Mr. Kushler estimates that the average texting speed can be increased by 20 to 30 percent with Swype. Currently, Swype is being used on seven smartphones in the U.S. and across all major wireless carriers. As for the iPhone, Mr. Kushler hasn’t struck a deal with Apple yet, but is already tinkering with other software for both the iPhone and iPad.