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XT9: Texting just got easier

T9 is not the latest Terminator movie, it's the software that makes writing text messages to your mates a lot easier -- and it just got better

For years now Tegic Communications has been working away to make your life easier. 'How?' I hear you holler. It's all to do with the T9 software that provides text messaging on your mobile phone -- let's face it, being able to text your boss that you're ill, even though you're actually eating biscuits and watching TV, is a lot easier than mock coughing down the phone.

T9 technology is getting smarter and just like the T-1000 in Terminator 2, it's doing things you might not expect.

T9 software can be broken up into three key components. Text Input is the base component of the software and allows you to write text messages. Text Output, which was launched this month, lets you personalise your text messages by changing the way they look. The third component is XT9, launched last October, which integrates all of the above for handwriting applications and Qwerty keyboards.

The latest version of Text Input, version 7.3, lets you back up all the words you add to the dictionary and transfer them on to another phone -- all those colloquialisms only your friends understand will forever be a part of your T9 dictionary. The new Text Input software also supports bilingual texting, so you can change language halfway through a message text without needing to select a different dictionary. It can even learn and then predict your most used words and phrases.

The Text output software will add more customisation options to your texts. Instead of plain black letters and symbols, you will be able to write in colour, with a variety of fonts and styles, which is great if you're yearning to express yourself in new ways.

To top it all, XT9 is an upgrade for the T9 software that lets it work with PDAs and smartphones that have handwriting recognition or Qwerty keyboards. It helps you by analysing your writing and guessing the words you are going to write. Expect a full review of a handset with XT9 soon. -AL