"Post me" vs. "Sort of": ISO co cake App
March 30, 2011 12:59 PM   Subscribe

Recommend a text-message app for my Droid Eris. The key: phonepad-oriented T9 AND intuitive word-completion in one.

Because I can't stand to use QWERTY with a thumb (and have no idea how anyone could) I use the virtual touch-pad.

Believe it or not, I prefer my old phone's "real" touch keys, which I could use with two thumbs without looking, but on touch screen can crank through pretty fast thanks to T9.

The problem that I have.. well, it shows up in many ways. First, I have to teach the dictionary reams of words, from "woops" to "damn." No biggie, I guess, but the list goes on:

The phone often doesn't know better than to suggest only "bookq" and "bookr" when I want to say the word "books."

If I'm trying for "restaurant" and I miss, or mis-type a digit, it comes out "resultsamt."

And, most of all (if we can fix only one thing, it would be this): It isn't intuitive about context for anything. If I'm trying to say "the kind of cycle" and it goes through as "kid line me awake," eyebrows quite predictably go up (I am 100% sure this sort of error is going to show up in a court case, which will then be highly publicized for it).

Yes, I watch the screen; yes, I catch it most of the time-- but it takes time, it hiccups my train of thought, and most importantly, it makes me look like a schmuck when it does go through with the errors.

Currently I use Handsent SMS (which I found out about through an answer right here on AskMeFi; I was looking for a message'r that didn't send & receive text msg pics in a one-pic slideshow, which Droid's default 'Messaging' does).

I am looking for a messaging app that knows enough to prioritize T9 predictions so that I never have to be thought to be saying "that sounds book [cool]!"; "in co [an] hour"; or "when'll you be good [home]?" again.

Bonus feature: These are real errors that I actually sent to people in text msg's. Words that I tried to say are on the left.
cries ashes
bonus boots
cycle awake
cake able
kind line
they view
sort post
if he
of me
on no
home good
cool book
thriving visiting
empty forty
hate have
quit suit
gasp harp
posted by herbplarfegan to Technology (16 answers total)
Response by poster: oh, and I don't mind paying for it.
posted by herbplarfegan at 1:01 PM on March 30, 2011

Not exactly answering the question, sorry, but can you get Swype? It takes a minute to get used to, but it's almost as fast as talking and quite accurate when you get good at it.
posted by nosila at 1:04 PM on March 30, 2011

Response by poster: It doesn't look like Swype is available for Droid.
posted by herbplarfegan at 1:18 PM on March 30, 2011

Swype is available for Android, but not in the Market. There's an open beta at Swype's website. (I'm not sure if the Eris is excluded for some reason, but it certainly works for many Droid phones.
posted by JMOZ at 1:21 PM on March 30, 2011

Best answer: Try Swiftkey. It predicts not only letters, but the next word you are likely to type. It's been my default keyboard since I first tried it out. There's a free trial but the full version costs maybe two dollars.
posted by hilaritas at 1:21 PM on March 30, 2011

I think the Eris has a different type of screen from the Droid Pro and some of the other phones Swype works for. Too bad...it's a really incredible keyboard.

I used to use SlideIt on my Hero, which is the same basic concept, and it looks like it might work for Eris. It didn't seem quite as good as Swype, but I still found it MUCH faster than any T9 based texting.
posted by nosila at 1:25 PM on March 30, 2011

Smart Keyboard does T9
posted by unixrat at 1:35 PM on March 30, 2011

Swiftkey is very good (I bought it and used it until the swype beta opened up, and I now use that).

I'm confused at you wanting an sms app with a specific keyboard. The two are two separate applications -- go through the android store and check out all the various keyboards. I saw a link to "better keyboard 8" today that looked very promising (seems to be a free trial/limited version and $3 unlock)

FWIW, I like GO SMS (free).
posted by devbrain at 1:38 PM on March 30, 2011

Response by poster: It's not that I want a specific keyboard-- I just want more intuitive text prediction. T9 is my method of choice because I like using the phonepad style.

If it were physical buttons, I'd go with regular, old-fashioned texting-- no T9-- because I hit the left arrow with my left thumb while speeding through (with a word like "right")-- ah, sorry; who cares. That's like talking about listening to 78's I guess.

I'm currently waiting for all of your above suggestions to finish downloading-- it sounds like I may end up with a totally different, but faster & smarter method.
posted by herbplarfegan at 1:47 PM on March 30, 2011

I use and recommend ThickButtons. Its primary feature is altering the size of the on-screen keypad keys so that likely next letters are larger than unlikely ones but it also has a ribbon of possible word completions that you can just select immediately. It's not perfect, but it learns from your typing, which helps.
posted by tommasz at 1:57 PM on March 30, 2011

Ooops, I forgot to mention that ThickButtons is a input method, not a SMS app, so it should work with Handcent (I use the stock SMS app).
posted by tommasz at 1:59 PM on March 30, 2011

Response by poster: Swiftkey - downloaded. intuitive sentences feature is nice (and makes for an interesting game of Mad-Lib ghostwriting/telephone-- or whatever you call the game when each person says one word at a time to tell a story)... I just wish to hell that it was on the 1 through 9 and then 0 of the old, physical phonepad.

I'm 60+ wpm typing on the PC keyboard, but damn if the phone's virtual QWERTY doesn't turn my thumb into that of a blind arthritic baboon looking for the 'h' key.. it's like a stalling engine and it makes me want to pitch the phone into traffic.
posted by herbplarfegan at 2:02 PM on March 30, 2011

Response by poster: What's the correct term for the phonepad style? Are any new SMS apps working with it?
posted by herbplarfegan at 2:05 PM on March 30, 2011

I use the Gingerbread Keyboard (available in the market for older versions of Android), and find that its text prediction is FAR better than any other keyboard app I've used.

Swype's not bad either.
posted by schmod at 2:16 PM on March 30, 2011

Response by poster: Okay-- the strangest thing happened.

I uninstalled Swiftkey, and when I went back to using the phonepad, it started making longer predictions.

If I type 5-4-3 (which I did to see if "the" (8-4-3) might show up as a suggestion), in the expanded window (which you usually only have to use to check for the word you need before you end up entering it in the dictionary-- otherwise you select it, and it moves to top priority for that sequence) I get 20 suggestions, all in perfectly coherent English-- from "lies" to "Life-support."

This isn't the "Rosie from the Jetsons"-intuitive pony I was looking for, but it's more than half-way there. This is going to speed things up for me nicely.

hence, the Swiftkey suggestion is sort of the 'accidental' best answer, so far.
posted by herbplarfegan at 2:58 PM on March 30, 2011

Response by poster: Okay.. I'll stop wanking on my own thread after this, but I think what did it was that during the set-up process for Swiftkey, it had me download dictionaries-- I got an English (US) one and a Spanish one-- and it seems like those stayed behind after the Swiftkey uninstall. I probably also changed one of my selections for text-prediction on the phone-pad format, which I had previously missed. tagline: My phone is now haunted by the ghost of Swiftkey.

And your moment of zen: during the first text I sent after I uninstalled Swiftkey (a message which explained what the above paragraph just did, naturally), 8-3-9 yielded the primary suggestion "text-prediction."
posted by herbplarfegan at 3:05 PM on March 30, 2011

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