Everyone who has owned a mobile phone over the last 10 years should at some point pour one out in thanks to Cliff Kushler, one of the inventors of the T9 text entry system that knows you mean "DONKEY" when you type 366539 in an SMS. Now Cliff is smartly shifting his focus on touchscreens with Swype—a way to type blindingly fast on a touchscreen by tracing your finger or stylus over the letters you want without lifting up, connect-the-dots style. It looks frankly amazing in a demo—so amazing that we remembered we've seen it somewhere before. Thankfully, it could be heading to the iPhone and Android really, really soon.
This is the demo Kushler gave to CNET, where he claims he can get a blazing 50 words per minute with the system. And we believe him—it's quite a sight.
And then we remembered WritingPad—a demo of an Android text editor that uses the exact same interface:
Turns out, as the folks at jkOnTheRun also point out, that the idea of this kind of input system has been around since 2004 (when touchscreens were still kind of from the future), when it was developed by IBM and called SHARK. Now, SHARK is called ShapeWriter, who are the developers of the WritingPad Android app and a similar app for the iPhone. How about that?
Swype is currently near prime time for Windows Mobile, with an SDK to bring it to other platforms in the works. ShapeWriter's Android version of WritingPad is forthcoming, and their iPhone version, which was released briefly before being pulled from the App Store for reasons unknown, should be back soon. No matter who brings it, I'm liking this. [CNET via Gadget Lab, jkOnTheRun, ShapeWriter]