Seven ways to make mobile typing easier
Whether you're sending texts or composing complicated emails, we'll show you how to get the best out of typing on the move.
1 Make the most of shortcuts
Oh the joy of pressing space space on a BlackBerry or iPhone and watching as the system magically inserts a full stop, space and capitalises the next word. This is just one of the cute shortcuts you should employ if you have a phone with sophisticated features. If you're typing an email address, you can save time by pressing space. First time it'll give you @ and after that a dot. There are other handy shortcuts for navigating messages and jumping back and forth between mails. Check your manual for tips. Best of all, even the lovely touchscreen Storm has the same familiar shortcuts.
2 Embrace the phone's error correction
Try to remember the first time you used predictive text on your mobile. Chances are you were resistant to it, saying "Oh, I'm quicker using multitype, thank you very much". But then you got over the hump and have never looked back. There's a similar hump to be climbed with texting on the iPhone. It takes getting used to because it imposes its choice on you - to cancel it you need to tap the suggested word. This seems counter-intuitive until you spot the tiny x in the corner of the box. But go with it, it's amazingly accurate in its predictions or else you're saying weird things. Other phones have other systems but they're relatively humpless.
3 Keep an eye on predictive texting
A fine balance this, as if you watch what you're typing too carefully you'll be put off by the garbage it spits out on the way to the right word. But if you don't glance up often enough you'll have to scramble back to where you typed if and the phone thought you meant he, for instance. Or "of" where you want "me" or "in" instead of "go". Or "home", "gone" and "good" when, of course, you're trying to type "hoof". These are among the most common transpositions, although there will be more you've accidentally typed in a hurry.
4 New words
Words made up of the same keypresses are called, and I can't believe I'm typing this, textonyms. Sometimes referred to as T9onyms or, my favourite, cellodromes. Wikipedia tells us that the numbers 22737 correspond to 14 words. So that message you had in mind about "Bards baser caper barfs acres, carer bares cards" will be particularly tedious to type. The site also claims that textonyms enter spoken language, insisting that teenagers say "Book" to mean "cool" or even "Zonino" for "Woohoo".
5 Beware of SureType
BlackBerry uses its own version on the Pearl, for instance, called SureType. This suggests words for you. However, it's not entirely successful. Its suggestions aren't always what you're after, like with the iPhone, but SureType has multiple words on offer, so it's easy to make mistakes. For instance, in the recent Movember charity fundraising and prostate cancer awareness campaign, those brave fellows growing moustaches found the new word Mo was being transliterated into month. Annoying outside Movember for anyone trying to write "Hang on a mo".
6 Know your handset
Phones behave differently and texting is a major source of variations. Samsung and, frankly, I've told them this until I'm blue in the face - has a very, er, individual setup. When you press the capitalisation key instead of giving you a capital letter it gives you numbers. Press it again for caps. Nokia uses the * key to cycle through matching options while Samsung uses 0. It's these differences, please note, that build on brand loyalty on phones.
7 Look for yourself
If there are any cool or annoying shortcuts you think Pocket-lint readers should know about, let us know. It's good that to get a capital letter on BlackBerry you can just hold the letter key down longer rather than pressing the caps key first, but why don't they tell you these things on day one? And why does the iPhone change my text signoffs from Dx to Ex with such regularity that my friends now call me Ex? Of course it's good that the iPhone knows that when I type im I mean I'm but are there any splendid shortcuts we haven't included? One day, maybe there'll be decent voice recognition so we can dictate texts reliably. Wouldn't that be cool? Zonino!