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Touchscreen soft-keyboard claims 50wpm

Sep 11, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

A startup company has announced a new virtual keyboard technology it claims will “change the way people input text on any screen.” Swype says its eponymous software permits text input at over 50 words per minute, via continuous finger or stylus motions.

(Click here for a larger view of Swype)

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According to Swype, the text input software currently exists in demonstration versions that run on Windows desktops and Windows Mobile devices. However, the product will ultimately be “designed to work across a variety of devices, such as phones, tablets, game consoles, kiosks, televisions, virtual screens, and more,” the company adds. A Linux implementation also appears to be likely.

Here, Swype is being used to type the word “quick”

As illustrated above and in the video at the bottom of this story, Swype's software is conceptually simple, but reportedly took more than four years to develop. To enter a word, a user slides a finger or stylus from letter to letter, passing through each required letter as well as others that are “in the way,” and lifting only when the word is completed. Via its patented predictive technology (below), Swype rejects extraneous letters, and then types the intended word onscreen, the company says.

Swype's predictive technology displays interim guesses about what word is being typed

Swype's two founders apparently have an impressive pedigree when it comes to devising input technology. Randy Marsden, credited with originating the Swype concept, was the developer of the onscreen keyboard included in Windows, according to the company. Meanwhile, President Cliff Kushler is said to have been a founder and VP of R&D at Tegic Communications, developer of the T9 predictive text technology, currently used on the T-Mobile Shadow and many other mobile phones.

Mike McSherry, CEO of Swype, says, “The iPhone phenomenon has created a huge demand in the marketplace for touch screen devices and now we are launching a new technology. Swype is set to revolutionize the way we communicate by making it easier and faster for users to input information on any screen.”

This video shows Swype running on Windows and Windows Mobile devices
Source: Swype
(click to play)

A somewhat similar concept was demonstrated recently by One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), which is selling low-cost Linux-compatible XO-1 mini-notebooks to the developing world market. OLPC recently demo'd a mock-up of a new version called the XO-2, which offers a full touchscreen virtual keyboard.

Further information

Swype provided no information on prospective pricing, nor on when its text entry technology might become publicly available. Further information may be available from the company's website, here.

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