Thursday, 04 May, 2006

T9 Predictive Text Input

When I got my new telephone, I noticed that it had a new text input mode called T9®.  T9 is "predictive text input," which apparently uses a dictionary to attempt to match up your keystrokes on the numeric keypad with real words.  So if you press "76863", it will find "sound".  Obviously, it's not perfect.  I way trying to enter "Round," not "Sound".  But it got close.  Oddly enough, "7625" gave me "rock" rather than the "sock" that I was expecting.  I guess sound is a more common word than round, and rocks are more common than socks.  And, yes, "3825" produces "duck."

I don't do enough text input in my phone to know if T9 works well.  The few times I've used it, it's just annoyed me.  I keep having to go back and correct its assumptions.  I can enter little memos faster with the old alpha mode (that is, "round" becomes "777-666-88-66-3").  T9 supposedly learns, but I probably won't ever use it enough to teach it much.

Still, I thought T9 was cool.  I've always wondered how people carry on IM conversations with those phones.  Seems one would get a very sore thumb.  But I guess having macros defined and something like T9 to predict what you're going to enter would go a long way to prevent texting thumb.  If you're into the whole IM thing.  Me, I get SMS messages for my ham radio emergency services group, but I don't even have the option to send or receive instant messages.  There's only so much time in the day.

If anybody out there has some experience with T9, I'd like to hear about it.