Home > Uncategorized > Data Entry The Web Made by Hand – Nokia, Nuance, and Zi

Data Entry The Web Made by Hand – Nokia, Nuance, and Zi

March 7, 2009

For a long time I’ve been waiting to post about the data entry component of our favorite smartphone OS. Coming from a corporate infrastructure/user support environment [Tech Support; Windows desktop and Mobile Email Infrastructure], it has significant importance to me. I hope not only to highlight the aspect of data entry, its overlooked importance, but hopefully show its use in the industry and how Nokia is implementing it in its future device strategy.


Most of the competitions devices have remained constant in the advancement of data entry in either text or Voice. Arguably, the most powerful text data entry of ALL smartphones and feature phones alike is used in the BlackBerry platform. It’s called AutoText and its significantly more powerful than just simple word prediction.

One can create a new entry; say the letters “AutoText”, then inputting a word, phrase, sentence or a paragraph of words that AutoText should use to replace the input done by the user. For example the “autotext” can put every paragraph I’ve typed above to replace it in an Email, SMS/MMS, Calendar (space restrictions here), MemoPad or other locations of the OS – including third party apps as well.


Of note, AutoText has only recently in the past 2yrs offered predictive-text; first in the 8100 implemented in SureType, and more recently, in the later OS’ of the Curve, Bold and Storm devices. Text prediction is not a strong suit of AutoText but I’d go as far as saying AutoText alone as a complete entity gives the BlackBerry its true strength; more than its Email infrastructure. This gives the BlackBerry its appeal and its view of “it just works”.

Nokia, since last year has decided to take on the business & consumer email market full force; beginning with the E71 [almost 10million devices alone worldwide]. They have done a fine job of text entry, prediction/correction, and speed with the E71 & S60 3rd Edition. This was just a small step towards supreme data entry either voice or text. Read on, my dear friends.

Wthin these mobile computers [N97 annoucement], its not only a consumption device its also a creation device, a creation tool. And of course, we need an input mechanism, a keyboard. But not quite this kind of a keyboard even as this bluetooth connections or corded connections are nice. But this doesn’t exactly fit in your pocket.  How about a touchscreen, its nice and lets have that there for 1-handed use, but its not very accurate even when it has tactile feedback. You need to have very good software to run it. But I think more important is to have a REAL keyboard, like this Real keys. Nothing replaces the feel and the accuracy of a real key on a qwerty keyboard thats sizable enough to really be used for creation, not only for consumption. Our media consumption is important but equally so we increasingly produce stuff for other people, stuff for ourselves.

– Anssi Vanjoki, Executive Vice President, Markets Nokia. Nokia World 2008 Speech

Few amoung us think about the data entry technology implemented inside our devices. Text Data entry in the industry is controlled & pioneered by 2 main entry’s; Nuance Inc & Zi Corporation. Previously,  Zi Corporation controlled roughly 30% of the growing market for predictive-text software. Previously, Nuance Communications controled 50% of the market. Now, combined under Nuance, it controls a total of 85-90% of market, meaning it will provide software implementations to most of the 1.3 Billion phones sold around the globe each year.

RIM has chosen to use VoiceSignal [Nuance acquired in 2007] as the voice command system implementation software in the BlackBerry platform [VSuite 2.1]. This was very rudimentary and weak in its features. Commands such as ‘Dial, Home’, ‘Check Battery’, ‘Check Coverage’, are basic but tax the cpu intensively. Similar commands have already been a stablemate of commands in S60 since 2nd Edition FP2 devices. RIM has decided not to push advancement in this area, while Nokia is stepping up its game.

Nuance Communications, Inc. Signs Multi Year Agreement With Nokia Corporation

Wednesday, 8 Oct 2008 09:30am EDT

Nuance Communications, Inc. and Nokia Corporation announced a comprehensive multi-year agreement to deliver mobile speech and predictive text capabilities across a broad range of Nokia mobile devices worldwide. The agreement also establishes a strategic collaboration to advance an open integration framework for advanced input technologies that will foster in the broader mobile developer ecosystem. Nokia will leverage Nuance’s mobile input solutions to provide users with a new class of intuitive mobile user interface enabling improved access to the many mobile applications and services that drive productivity, convenience, safety, and consumer experience.


Since the introduction of the N97, Nokia has gone to extreme lengths at improving the way we enter data entry. Already in the 5800 there are 4 ways to enter data using the touchscreen, however with the intrudution of the E75 with a slide our qwerty & the E55 using SureType a Nokia first, you are now witnessing rapid data entry. You can bet that the speed of the E71’s text prediction will be further enhanced. I doubt this will be limited to just the E-Series – hence my reason for the quote above.

We are building up NOkia Services to fulfill our vision of a world where our mobile devices unleash the possibilities of the internet in entirely new ways. The Way we connect is going to be a lot more fun, and more about you!

Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, President and CEO of Nokia Corporation. Nokia World 2008.


Although this specific quote is in regards to Nokia Ovi Services, its still about ‘Connecting People’ – Nokia’s purpose & guiding principle. You cannot connect people just by a phone call alone, a message can be in the form of text and all forms of digital text [SMS/MMS text/Email/Web blog/Website/ etc] is no exception. Having powerful services should tie in to not only how we serve up are media but also on the comments we attach to them, comments we leave on others’ media, and to the content we serve using the Ovi Services. I don’t believe Share on Ovi will be just a glorified Flickr for Photos and Video but also an interactive hosting service, an evolution of Mobile Web Server.

Thank you all for reading.



Nuance Communications, Inc. Unveils NVC 2.0 for Mass Market Mobile Devices!
Wednesday, 11 Feb 2009 08:00am EST
Nuance Communications, Inc. announced the availability of Nuance Voice Control (NVC) 2.0, a customizable modular framework that allows operators and handset OEMs to speech enable any feature, application, or network service on any mobile device they bring to market, including feature phones.

Burlington, MA-based Nuance Communications (NASDAQ:NUAN), after a series of unsuccessful offers begun last summer, has finally convinced the board of the Canadian firm Zi (NASDAQ:ZICA) to accept Nuance’s $35 million buyout offer. This is 5-million less than what Nuance offerd in August 2008.

Zi’s solutions for mobile search and text input complement Nuance’s portfolio of intuitive touch and speech interfaces that simplify and enhance the way people interact with mobile devices, applications, and services. Together, Nuance and Zi are positioned to better address the need for text input technology for customers and partners worldwide, especially in Asia-Pacific.


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. March 8, 2009 at 4:36 PM

    Really nice article bro.
    Text entry on mobile devices is getting speedier and easier by the day, you are right, predictive text will play a role in easing data entry. I didn’t quite get the “AutoText” part, if it’s Find and Replace…then thats definitely a feature I would want.
    Share on Ovi will become the hub for mobile sharing but they need to open it up to all the other countries (for eg. Middle East)
    And mobile blogging has a bit to go, I’ve been reading quite a bit about how easy it was to make a config file for Share Online 2.0 but with SO3, Nokia removed the Add New Service option.

    It would be great if Nokia provided a way for bloggers to post using Share Online (I’ve never used LifeBlog, but from what I read it’s good too).


    • prom1
      October 7, 2009 at 12:15 PM

      Glad you enjoyed my post. Think of AutoText as an incredibly simple way for text entry; after creating an entry in AutoText, you enter a few simple characters+space key, and its immediately replaced by a word/sentence/paragraph.
      (Imagine what I just typed above was done by simply inputting: blogrply) 😉

      Lifeblog is a resource hog on devices running the old ARM11 cpu’s and works better for S60fp2 devices..

      Share on Ovi or all of Ovi Services needs to be unified in order for it to be powerful enough to appeal across the world. I’ve already moved on to another platform because of the services are unified (even if not free).


  2. prom1
    March 9, 2009 at 9:01 AM

    Glad you liked the article eVilracer! Actually, AutoText is not a Find & Replace (that might be useful). Instead, it allows for just about infinite editing of the predictive-text system on your phone. Specifically you can add say a few letters, set it to type a sentence or a paragraph as part of auto-correction. ie. it automatically replaces “acn” with “can,” “ehr” with “her,” and so forth. But you can go further and set AutoText to take certain keystokes to put in system information ie:
    Entering: %d , will put in the current date
    Entering: %t , will put in the currect time.

    Examples of regular AutoText editing …
    bc = because
    callme = “Please call me on my cell phone at (my number here)”
    dev = develop
    devel = development
    dx = diagnosis
    fup = follow up
    gol = Go Live (Specified case)
    hx = history
    idk = I don’t know
    lmk = let me know
    mtg = meeting
    nmo = next month
    nvm = nevermind
    nwk = next week
    nyr = next year
    pageme = please page me with a number to reach you at
    pls = please
    pt = patient

    Its VERY powerful. I’m still looking for this ability as a 3rd Party installation either via sisx file or via PyS60.


  3. March 15, 2009 at 6:05 PM

    Interesting article, i have bookmarked your blog for future referrence 🙂


  4. prom1
    March 17, 2009 at 10:03 PM

    Thank you!


  5. Filemike
    October 6, 2009 at 3:30 PM

    Very informative article. Many thanks for the time and effort you have put into it. Just out of interest, have there been any recent developments in autotext editing software for symbian s60 v3? Look forward to hearing from you!


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