Swype showed the world a new way to input text on touch screen devices. Rather than pushing buttons on a soft keyboard, one simply had to touch the screen once, on the first letter of a word, and then drag their finger across the screen to the other letters in said word. Once you lift your finger off the screen, the right word is supposed to be entered into the text field.
I’ve been playing with the beta on my Google Nexus One, and I find it a bit odd. In some instances, such as spelling longer words, it’s faster, but when it comes to proper punctuation, it’s a mess. That and entering a URL with a Swype keyboard is a royal pain in the ass. Don’t let my harsh criticism stop you from trying out the software yourself, it did set a new Guiness World Record for fastest text input on a mobile phone.
Today, Nuance announced “T9 Trace”, and it’s basically the exact same thing. How can they do this without violating patents is beyond me, but the description I gave above for Swype is exactly how T9 Trace works.
Look at this screenshot of Swype:
And now look at this screenshot of T9 Trace:
It’s prettier, I’ll give it that much, but read the press release yourself and see if you can spot anything that T9 Trace does that Swype doesn’t, because I sure as hell am having a hard time doing it.
One thing to note, Cliff Kushler is the founder and CTO of Swype, he is th co-inventor of the first T9 text input software you probably used on a Nokia phone many years, practically a decade, ago. The guy has patents coming out of his eye balls. Nuance … not so much.