Friday, 26 June 2009

Is LG really innovating when it agrees to use T9 and xT9 for text entry on its future mobile phones?

Well, that's the view of Michael Thompson, senior vice president and general manager, Nuance Mobile. Don't get me wrong: the guys who have been with T9 pre Nuance have done an amazing job. Looking at Vision Mobile's latest release of the 100million club, who wouldn't want to say they were part of that. And hey, the Nuance acquisition of Tegic (and of course Zi earlier this year) firmly positions Nuance as the 800 pound gorilla in the text input market. But, does it mean innovation for OEMs and end users??

I'm not convinced. Nuance have been on an acquisition spree over a number of years, grabbing talent, contracts, channels and customers for their assortment of products and services which make up their mobile division. Seeing that lot integrated is one heck of a job. Seeing them deliver truly innovative solutions over the coming number of years is another. Does Nuance have a culture of innovation? Well, I don't know is the honest answer.

But what I can say is that from the perspective of an OEM, it can't be good news. SMS is still the killer app (see my previous post). If OEMs are using the same old input method across all devices, where is the differentiation? Cootek, Adaptxt, Tengo and other ISVs are in the text input game and have many fans.

LG is playing it safe.


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