Mobanagram ©

Let me go on a bit more about SMS. I am so very used to predictive text input in my mobile phone, known as T9, but am still often annoyed by it deciding for me which word I should write totally out of context. For example, when I want to write “Go home on foot, honey bun” (just a random sentence…), it will give me “In good on dont, honey bum”. Well, to be fair, I don’t expect T9 to understand linguistic and situational contexts. Not quiet yet. Same with search engine technology, like Google AdSense keeps recommending ads about tree management or palm tree seeds for me (I had to stop and think for a few seconds why it gives me those – yawningtree!)

Sriram once told me he was making a list of possible groups of words by same keypad sequences. (Shouldn’t you be busier with your research, young man? 😛 ) Yesterday, when I accidentally had a funny word for somebody’s name in composing a text message, I suddenly got carried away and read bits and bobs online about text input systems for mobile phones (So should I. 😦 ). We also went as far as to term such groups of words as mobanagram. Somebody has to do the terming.

Apparently, T9 developer Tegic, part of AOL, now offers a better version of T9, named as XT9, which offers stylus support and regional error correction. The latter compensates for users with fat thumbs mashing the wrong key on tiny keyboards. Moreover, in XTP2.0, speech recognition and Chinese handwriting recognition capabilities will be incorporated. Sounds cool. Our beloved Samsung has already made a deal to be the first handset maker to integrate the XTP Mobile Interface. Not sure about handsets in Korean domestic use though, given the uniqueness of the Korean writing system. (For a flavour of it, my favourite “[Hangul, the Korean alphabet] is unparalleled grammatological luxury” comment by Dr Ledyard at Columbia University is linked here.) Since the case between the original inventor Choi and Samsung over the Chunjiin system, where all the vowels are deconstructed to the three prime strokes, numerous patent issues about text input technology for mobile phones have been put forward in Korea. A nice summary is provided by the Korea Institute of Patent Information (written in Korean).

Anyway, my motivation for this little research was not to invent a better system but to elaborate the plot I came up with for my future crime novel. A murderer leaves an unintelligible note next to every victim of his, which will be decrypted by … mobile phones! Yes, I am giving you my culprit right away with Columbo-like confidence. Ahem.


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