Observation and Design

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Me and My Android: Predictive Text Improvement Suggestions

December 19th, 2009 @ 13:16 BST by Richard Stowey

I’ve been using my HTC Hero, which is powered by Google Android, for a few months now and really like the jump i’ve taken from my previous Sony Ericsson K810i. It’s quite interesting to use something with such a technology jump, and it’s amazing how easily I have become used to the advances. But there are a few things I would change…

I gladly accept the fact that I can check where I am with GPS and google maps, send twitter updates from the train, broadcast video live on the move, check my emails and upload a picture of what’s in front of me straight to facebook.

But there are a few things which I believe could come in handy in future iterations. These mainly lie under the category of the predictive text. The predictive text simply improves the likelyhood of typing sensible sentences by guessing what the word should be when various letters are pressed in sequence.

In comparison to traditional keys which are physical, where one can touch the key to locate a finger or thumb, and then press the key in two separate actions, the use of a touch screen forces a locate and confirm in one action. This, some might argue, enforces a greater reliance on improved predictive text, as opposed to traditional keyboards which require no predictive text at all.

So, what needs to be improved?

  1. Improve hardware spec
  2. Additional or subtrational letters within words
  3. Optional spaces

Due to hardware issues and the occasional slowdown, the phone often thinks that the keys are pressed for longer than they actually are. This leads to a number or symbol appearing within a word and the predictive text stumbles. Symbols and numbers should be interchangeable with letters within the predictive text.

Additional letters are often pressed by accident or missed out altogether. The preictive text within the HTC Hero should give additional options based upon adding or subtracting letters.

Spaces are critical to a sentence. I will often type two words, one after another without spaces in between. It would be nice if the Android predictive text would offer two-word alternatives when two words are typed next to each other.

So, there we have it, a few worthy upgrades to the Android / HTC Hero predictive text system. Probably, all of which have been addressed in versions of Android above 1.5. Roll on the next version, please!

Photo by Patrick He