Have You Fallen into an Input Hole in Android and Can You Get Out of It?

October 26, 2011
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The world of Android smartphones and Android tablets crossed over from single-core to dual-core processors eons ago, and that same world is on the threshold of the quad-core era of mobile processing.

Form factors have shifted from smaller screens to larger screens, as well as from plain ol’ blocks of electronics to dockable smartphones and tablets with expanded capabilities.

Apps, likewise, are growing in the Android Market and in other third-party curated or non-curated sources.

Even the Android operating system itself is about to taste the latest update in the form of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

But, what’s going on in that other crucial area in smartphone and tablet technology, that area involving input? Is input technology up to speed with the steady rise of processor technology, form factors, and messaging applications for Android? KeyPoint Technologies doesn’t think so. In fact, the company has found that there is an “input gap”–and the company intends to change all that.

A Gaping Hole in Input Technology

According to KeyPoint, four characteristics need to be present so that users can maximize their use of their mobile devices: relevant input, accurate input, speedy input, and convenient input. These so-called pillars are not being completely met today, and the mismatch between those pillars and the user experience creates what KeyPoint calls the input gap. The gap also seems to be a time sink–it “wastes” about 66% of your text inputting time and makes you more prone to typos and input errors.

The input gap creates an environment of limitations. For ordinary users, it can take the form of limitations in casual texting, social networking, and other common forms of smartphone-assisted communication.

For professional and business users, the input gap can be a fire test of patience: current input technology demands nimble fingers and extra loads of patience–both of which business users and professionals have to consider vis-a-vis the crucial need for near-instantaneous response times (e.g., in the case of responding to urgent business emails).

For original equipment manufacturers and telecommunication companies, the input gap can translate to fewer mobile messages, which can consequently reduce the average revenue per user (ARPU).

KeyPoint Technologies has been developing technologies and applications that aim to bridge the input gap. Its soon-to-be-launched Adaptxt app for Android is one fine example of a solution.

Filling or Bridging the Gap

Adaptxt hopes to patch the input gap through its use of KeyPoint’s Predictive Text 2.0 Engine, which, in a nutshell, consists of an artificial intelligence component and a Think Ahead User Interface component.

In Adaptxt, the app learns on the fly. It learns how you type and it analyzes your language style. It gathers data about your communication habits and preferences from multiple sources (e.g., your SMS messages, social network interactions, instant messages, emails, and the like), and then learns more about your communication style from those sources. By learning about your language style, the Engine can do two helpful things: assist you and adapt to you.

The Adaptxt user interface also puts the user at the center by providing support for about 50 languages from all over the world, as well as various keyboard form factors and layouts.

The resultant combination of the learning engine and the user interface produces an experience where users can input relevant and accurate messages fast and conveniently. In short, a bridging of the input gap.

Bringing Intelligent Input Capability to Users

For instance, the Adaptxt app can “foretell” the next word that you are most likely to type. Called “next word prediction,” this feature is something that not many dictionary or keyboard apps can currently provide.

Normally, if you want to type the message “I love going to the movies,” the most common way is to tap or swipe on your keyboard to spell out all the letters in the sentence. In Adaptxt, the moment you type “I love,” the app provides the most likely next word. Such intelligent guesswork can lessen the time it will take for you to compose a message.

But, that’s just for the sentence level. KeyPoint also walked the extra mile by bringing the guessing engine to the word level. So, when you start typing the first few strings of a word, the application guesses what word you are trying to type. But, “I’m such a moron with spelling!” you say. According to KeyPoint, you need not worry much, since the application seems capable of correcting and preventing errors “with a high level of accuracy.”

 

Upcoming Launch of Adaptxt

I am personally excited about the app because I want to find out whether it can help prevent disastrous messages such as what happened to one guy. There’s this guy who goes on a business trip. Being a faithful and devoted husband, he had informed his wife earlier about the trip and vowed to keep in touch while he is away.

True enough, upon landing at the airport, he pulls out his Android smartphone and types, “Honey, airplane just landed. On my way to hotel. Love you.”

And, upon reaching the hotel and being mesmerized by its world-class amenities, he pulls out his Android smartphone again and types, “Honey, having a great time in hotel room. Wish you were her.”

His divorce papers were waiting for him when he finally came back home.

Levity aside, KeyPoint Technologies’ upcoming product is an interesting development in input technology. According to the company, the Android app will be launched in early November.

Find out more about KeyPoint’s upcoming app from the official Adaptxt website. You can also get up-to-date info from Adaptxt on Facebook, Adaptxt on Twitter, and Adaptxt on LinkedIn.

Whether or not KeyPoint Technologies’ product can live up to its promise of bridging the input gap, we’ll know soon.

For the meantime, how fast and accurately can you type text using the current keyboard on your Android smartphone? What keyboard app do you use?  Do you find yourself caught in the so-called input gap?

Credits: PictureYouth.com (for feature image); KeyPoint Technologies for charts and graphs

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