Breakthrough Keyboard Technology for Smaller Handsets

September 19, 2004
BlackBerry 7100™ Series handset

The new patent-pending SureType™ keyboard technology from Research In Motion (RIM) is turning heads and drawing early praise for its ingenuity and effectiveness. The BlackBerry 7100™ Series handsets are the first wireless devices to feature SureType.

SureType effectively converges a phone keypad and a QWERTY keyboard to fit elegantly within the size constraints of a traditional mobile phone form factor. Through an integrated keyboard and software system, SureType provides users with an instinctively familiar look and feel and allows them to dial phone numbers and type messages quickly, accurately and comfortably.

"Mobile professionals are torn between their need for a device that offers efficient data input capabilities and their desire for a device they can accept as their primary mobile phone," says Kevin Burden, Program Manager at IDC. "While some full QWERTY thumbboards deliver the input accuracy that professionals need, the market has awaited a keyboard design that is as quick, accurate, and easy to use as QWERTY solutions, but doesn't compromise the phone experience."

The SureType keyboard design incorporates large, optimally placed keys that allow one-handed or two-handed operation. Each key contains a maximum of two letters and the letters are aligned in a standard QWERTY layout. The keyboard works in conjunction with a sophisticated, real-time software system that incorporates a large word database (approximately 35,000 words initially plus the user's address book), linguistic intelligence and advanced learning capabilities to automatically interpret keystrokes and recognize words with a high degree of accuracy. SureType dramatically outshines the traditional multi-tap phone approach, allowing users to concentrate on the message rather than the method.

In addition to incorporating the QWERTY keyboard layout, the SureType keyboard design also incorporates a prominent numerical phone keypad that is centred on the device and allows easy and familiar one-handed phone dialing. Dedicated 'send' and 'end' phone keys are also included for convenience.

"SureType is an evolutionary breakthrough that hits a sweet spot in terms of usability and size. It solves the paradox of fitting an efficient QWERTY keyboard with reasonably sized keys into a traditional candy-bar handset design," said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at Research In Motion.

RIM revolutionized wireless handheld devices in the 1990's with the introduction of a thumb-typing QWERTY keyboard that changed the way mobile users thought about composing messages and entering data. Now RIM's new SureType technology is changing the way people think about typing on mobile phones.

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