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Symbian users Swype Samsung's tricks

World-beating text entry comes to Nokia

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The world's fastest text entry system, Swype, is now in Beta for Symbian S60 5th edition, allowing Nokia users to write by tracing a path rather than the old-fashioned tapping on keys.

Swype allows text entry by tracing a finger past the keys rather than pressing them one at a time. The software recognises the pattern and inserts the word, presenting options where it's not clear.

The system works surprisingly well; extended use can give one a strange numbness in the fingertip, but it's not nearly as bad as one gets from trying to write extended messages using multitap or T9. The learning curve is minimal, and one can always resort to tapping keys when entering passwords or proper nouns which won't be in the dictionary.

It's also the fastest way to get text into a mobile phone, according to the Guinness chaps, who monitored Franklin Page typing "The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human" in a smidgen over 35 seconds.

Swype already runs on Android and comes pre-installed on some Motorola handsets. Samsung keenly promotes the technology, which features on its upcoming tablet computer, the Galaxy Tab. We've not tried it on a larger keyboard, but on a phone it's very effective.

Pre-installation is Swype's preferred method of distribution, outside of the Symbian beta the software isn't available for download, so Nokia's testing is significant. Beta Labs, which is running the test, says it's interested in getting feedback about how well Swype works. If there's enough positive response we'd be unsurprised to see Swype as a standard feature on touchscreen Nokias. ®

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