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