Palm Drops Graffitti, Picks up Jot

How many Palm PDA users have noticed that your regular pen and ink handwriting is starting to take on some of the characteristics of the Graffiti alphabet? The fact is that the Palm PDA is extremely popular despite, or possibly because, of Graffiti itself. While having to learn a new alphabet has done little to dissuade millions from choosing Palm devices, Graffiti has also been a thorn in Palmis side. A long standing lawsuit filed by Xerox back when Palm was U.S. Robotics continues to drag on and could ultimately force Palm to use an alternate method of data input.

According to a article titled PalmSource picks up handwriting tool, Palm has decided not to wait around for the outcome of the Xerox case, and has inked a deal with Communications Intelligence Corporation to use its Jot handwriting recognition software on Palm devices. From the C|Net article:

The operating system subsidiary of handheld maker Palm announced Monday that it has signed a licensing agreement with Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Communication Intelligence to use its Jot handwriting recognition software--dubbed Graffiti 2, powered by Jot--in current and future versions of the Palm OS.

The PalmSource move comes as the industry works to extend the scope of the handheld market to include more mainstream buyers, by introducing lower-cost models and by making the devices easier to use.

"People donit want to learn a new alphabet (when they purchase a new device)," said Michael Higashi, a director of marketing at PalmSource.

One of the quirky yet endearing characteristics of the Palm OS has been the handwriting method that handheld owners had to learn in order to enter data into devices. For example, to write a "t" using Graffiti, the owner would have to write an upside-down "L." In Graffiti 2, a "t" can be written using the more conventional crossbar. However, the software can be trained to suit an owneris handwriting style, according to PalmSource.

Graffiti 2 is already available to licensees such as Sony and Kyocera and will be embedded into version 5.2 and 4.1.2 of the Palm OS, said Higashi. Itis up to the licensees as to when they will begin shipping devices that come with Graffiti 2 out of the box, he said.

Read the full article at C|Net News.