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Digit taps up partner in China

ZTE will expand Fastap range

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Digit Wireless, maker of the Fastap keyboard, has signed a strategic agreement with China's ZTE to put the technology into more of their phones, which is good going as the rest of the world is still trying to squeeze a Qwerty keypad into a mobile phone.

ZTE already uses Digit's keyboard on a couple of handsets, but this deal will see the companies working together to spread the concept to more of their phones. ZTE sees Fastap as an important differentiator in an increasingly competitive market.

Fastap puts keys in between the existing nine-key arrangement - at the points between the keys - to allow for a full ABC keyboard, along with some software to deal with the inevitable mashing of the keys. Digit has been hawking the idea around Europe and the USA for the last half-decade, but without much traction despite touting figures that show a considerable increase in texting revenue once their innovation has been deployed.

It's hard not to consider Digit akin to the Dvorak crowd - we know the Qwerty keyboard causes long-term damage, is hard to learn, and limits the speed at which one can type, but still Dvorak is hardly known despite being the most popular of the alternatives. Now manufacturers seem hell-bent on taking all the disadvantages of the desktop platform onto a mobile phone, including the Qwerty keyboard.

Fastap is one of the more successful alternatives, and it's good to see the technology being deployed, even if Western companies can't seem to get away from their 104 keys. ®

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