Smartphones did take away that handy keypad we had, giving us a cozy touchscreen in return. But, they could never take away the T9 Predictive Text facility. Not even today.
And why do we love it so much?
Remember those good old Nokia days, when typing a message did not depend on how adept you are with your miniature typing pad stuffed with all those tiny keys? Even the most butterfingers of butterfingers and the most stringent of spelling Nazis and pedants had this great, great option – the T9 Predictive Text.
T9, the time saver:
Back then, not many phones had the Internet facility. So, basically, our feature phones had to suffice for everything with less advanced assorted features – from voice calls to calculations, to sometimes an email, to Instant Messaging, which wasn’t really that ‘instant’, to what not. Speed didn’t come just like that. Every mobile action took its own sweet time and we had to, but depend on the T9 Text. At least it was making our typing attempts faster.
One press for one letter:
And unless it was a Qwerty, those tiny keys crammed on that tiny keypad actually spoke of not just one letter each, but of a group of it, all at the same time. It was difficult bringing to text certain letters in just a single press. But, T9 had solved this problem too. With it, it was a single key for a single letter.
The impeccable prediction of words:
The T9 Prediction Text grabbed a letter here and a letter there, combined them and put up an instant dictionary that could throw the most frequently used word in front. A user could either accept that word or go for the range of suggestions T9 offered. And for convenience, a user could even add words he frequently used and integrate them in the dictionary. No doubt more than 4 billion phones, be it a smart or a feature, still use T9 for texting.
Not just English, there was more to it:
T9 enabled word prediction in multiple languages at the same time. It was a mini translator which worked to bring out a certain word you desired, from a certain word you knew in a language you wanted.
iPhones now carry T9:
It’s called Type 9 and as of now, it is available in the following languages – English, Spanish and Dutch. But, yes, did we not just hate the ‘autocorrect’ feature? ‘Count’ typed becomes ‘don’t’. Okay, not the same, but still make sense. ‘Disney’ turns into ‘divorce’ and creates a huge family row, still making sense. But ‘tour’ turns ‘turi’? Does that make sense? Is ‘turi’ even a word? But that was T9 classic. And it’s no more.
With T9, Apple has made some cool improvements for typing in an iPhone. One of the most distinguished of these improvements is the moving of the cursor round the text on just dragging the zero in the smartphone. That would keep us from manually placing the cursor on the part of a word where we’d like some editing done. Also, emoji can now be summoned without having to change the keyboard and a simple swiping saves time consuming actions like tapping the key for number 7 four times to finally get the letter S.
T9 is full of sweet-bitter memories. It was gone but we could probably never part with it. So much was the love that it had to resurrect and come back as Type 9 in the iPhone. And this one love is forever, I guess.