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Martin King, Inventor Of T9 Predictive Text, Passes Away

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Martin King, Inventor Of T9 Predictive Text, Passes Away

Martin King, co-inventor of the mobile phone predictive text software, Tegic T9, has died at the age of 60 after a long battle with cancer.

T9 has been and remains one of the most popular ways of inputting text into a mobile phone and is used on billions of devices around the world. It uses algorithms to predict what word you're trying to form based on likely combinations of letters, allowing users to type words with a single keypress for each letter rather than the old multitap approach. With the explosion of smartphones with full qwerty keyboards, the tech is less prevalent but for traditional candybar handsets with the letters arranged on the number keys 1-9, it is still the preferred method.

King apparently came up with the idea while looking into an eye-tracking communications device, called The Owl, for those without the use of their arms and legs. Looking at the techniques he was studying, it struck him that they could be useful for mobile phones.

He went on to form the company Tegic alongside Cliff Kushler (who has since gone onto develop the Swype text input method) in 1995. The company was sold to AOL in 1999 for $350 million and is now part of Nuance Communications.

Former CEO of Tegic, Bill Valenti, said of King "Martin was.a very, very rare and unusual person. He combined the brilliance and curiosity of an Einstein with the heart and compassion of a Mother Teresa." A fitting accolade for a man owed a debt of gratitude by billions of mobile phone users round the world.

Source: TechFlash via Recombu

xbrumster

September 24, 2010, 6:05 pm

hats off to the founder, hope he didnt suffer much.





millionaire him is btw?

Enigma

September 24, 2010, 11:44 pm

I don't recall of ever having heard of him despite being familiar with "predictive text" and technology in general - like the many who have contributed to the comfortable life enjoyed by us in the developed world.





I repeat,as I cannot better the epitaph of the former CEO of Tegic, Bill Valenti: "Martin was a very, very rare and unusual person. He combined the brilliance and curiosity of an Einstein with the heart and compassion of a Mother Teresa."





Thank you and RIP.





Thank you to TR for bringing this to its readers attention.

hankb6d

September 25, 2010, 4:42 am

RIP





But it's the first thing I disable on any new phone.

Kezman

September 25, 2010, 9:45 am

I know the hardcore still use the manual method....but for everyone else T9 is a revelation.


Hats off to and RIP.

mjaffk

September 25, 2010, 6:16 pm

RIP and my hat off (not that I'm under one). Using T9 to write 10 to 50 messages a day every day.. Thank you.

snoop 7

September 25, 2010, 7:09 pm

Not a big fan of predictive text but for many it is a life saver. A great innovation by Mr King, a person I've never heard of until now.





RIP

GoldenGuy

September 25, 2010, 9:53 pm

A removal of our hats is in order for Mr. King. Although I hate to spoil the moment but the last person I'd want compared to in my obituary is Mother Teresa - a different topic but one worth mentioning out of respect for the man.

rav

September 26, 2010, 4:12 am

Genius!





With the rise of touchscreens I miss not able to text without having to look at what I'm doing.

PGrGr

September 28, 2010, 1:17 pm

Hank, was that really necessary?

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