The Null Device


Cliff Kushler, one of the inventors of the T9 text-entry system used on most mobile phones made over the past decade, has developed a new, amazingly fast text entry system for touch-screen devices. Named Swype, the system displays an on-screen keyboard; though, instead of tapping individual keys, the user merely scribbles on the keyboard, joining the letters of the desired word, and the system finds the appropriate word and enters it:
The video is quite impressive; in it, Kushler demonstrates the system, entering a sentence and, at one point, scribbling on the keyboard for a fraction of a second and producing the word "Mississippi".

The prototype of Swype has been implemented on PC tablets and Windows Mobile phones, though the technology is up for licensing. The question on everybody's lips is probably whether Apple will grab it for the iPhone (or, indeed, buy Kushler out and lock it up as an iPhone/Mac exclusive; assuming, of course, no serious prior art). Assuming that it remains non-exclusive, this looks like an excellent fit for the Android architecture. Android is a pluggable system, in which applications aren't programs as such but objects which provide various services (such as composing an email, showing an image or, indeed, entering text). A Swype text-entry plug-in for Android would be fairly easy to create.

There are 3 comments on "Swype":

Posted by: Owen Wed Sep 10 14:25:10 2008

My partner already has an app called WritingPad on her iPhone, which appears to do the same thing. It's from

Regardless of priority, it works impressively well.

See also

Posted by: Michel S. Wed Sep 10 14:54:51 2008

Exclusive patents should be disallowed for companies above a certain size -- small companies have an incentive to license their patents, but with multi-billion dollar companies, patents tend to create monopolies and inhibit innovation.

(This dates back to James Watt, who ironically actually delayed the advancement of steam engine technology by years)

Posted by: Cole Wed Oct 1 11:13:46 2008

I am using "Dasur - SlideIT", it's the same concept and technology, only that is only available for the public. I like it.

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