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February 15, 2006

Text behind the scenes

Posted by Tricia Duryee at 3:21 PM

BARCELONA, Spain -- You've probably used it and you don't even know it.

It's called T9 and it's the "predictive text" software on your cellphone that guesses what you are trying to say based on the numbers you have typed on your keypad.

T9 is a brainchild of Seattle-based Tegic, now a division of America Online, which made several announcements this week at 3GSM. One announcement was that the latest version of T9, called XT9, will be first used by Samsung Electronics.

Eric Collins, vice president of sales at T9, said Samsung will ship the device starting in the second half of the year.

XT9 has all the benefts of T9, but also allows users to easily message in other languages, including in French, Spanish and Italian, complete with accents. It also improves prediction. For example, if a user inavertently types in m-o-o-b, XT9 will present the word "moon" because it knows "b" is one key away from the "n."

The function is great for a user who has big thumbs or a phone with small keys.

Tegic also introduced a new output function that allows words to be put in bold or italic. It also more serious things, such as enabling 25 languages. "Emerging markets are a huge opportunity," Collins said.

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Tricia Duryee
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