updated 10:40 am EDT, Thu April 5, 2007
BlackBerrying Text Patent
BlackBerry's creator Research in Motion has patented a potentially revolutionary approach to text entry on its handhelds, a new filing published today shows. The Canadian firm has developed methods that it hopes will cut down on the number of keystrokes needed for smartphone text messages, which are frequently slower than their PC equivalents. One of these is a technique dubbed "phrase substitution," according to RIM: the user could put in smaller text strings that would automatically be replaced with larger strings, such as "FYI" creating "for your information."
Other techniques would involve smart capitalization triggered by the length of time a key is held down, and smart character systems that would recognize e-mail addresses, sentence conclusions, and other uniquely formatted text, either insertng or deleting characters by itself.
While the patent gives no clues as to when RIM expects to use the new typing methods, its original filing date of November points to a relatively near-term use that could find its way into an update for today's BlackBerry 8800 as well as the rapidly approaching 8300. [via ZDNet]