PalmSource Creating Graffiti 2: ‘Jot’ This One Down

Handheld computer maker Palm Monday began preparing for ‘Graffiti 2’, its next generation handwriting technology.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said it has signed a licensing agreement for ‘Jot’ handwriting recognition technology, a software made by Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Communication Intelligence Corporation (CIC) , to completely replace Graffiti in all of its future systems.

As part of the contract, PalmSource will embed “Graffiti 2 powered by Jot,” in current versions of its Palm OS platform. Manufacturers can choose to upgrade to either Palm OS 4.1.2 or Palm OS 5.2 for ARM-based handhelds.

Palm says the new Graffiti 2 handwriting software supports “an intuitive, more natural form of input, minimizing learning time for new users and easing the transition for experienced users.”

“So now you will be able to write a ‘T’ as a ‘T’ and not an upside-down ‘L’,” said PalmSorce Director of product development Michael Higashi.

The technology recognizes both English and Roman-based European characters in English, French, Italian, German Spanish and Japanese languages.

While Jot has the ability to do full screen inking , Palm said it is making it as an option to OEMs.

“We took the Jot technology and went back to the whiteboard to build Graffiti 2,” said Higashi. “This gave us an opportunity and some performance tweaks.”

Palm said the reasoning behind Graffiti 2 is two-fold. The original Graffiti is an antiquated system and there is still a looming lawsuit by Xerox.

The suit began back in April 1997, when Xerox sued U.S. Robotics, later acquired by 3Com, claiming that “Graffiti” infringed a Xerox patent received on Jan. 21, 1997.

“The suit caused us to take a fresh look at all the technologies,” said Palm Corporate Spokesperson Marlene Somsak. “We came to a conclusion that the litigation could take a long time and we liked what CIC had to offer. So much so that if we were to start a company from scratch, we would base it on Jot instead of Graffiti.”

In addition to Jot, CIC’s products that support Palm Powered devices include: WordComplete-text entry utility, QuickNotes — electronic note-taking solution, InkSnap — dynamic ink scaling for handwritten notes on small form factor devices, Sign-On — the first security utility for Palm Powered devices that utilizes biometric signature verification to help protect the user’s data from tampering and theft, and InkTools for Palm OS, a software development kit (SDK) that enables the implementation of biometric signatures for electronic workflow, security and e-Sign compliant applications.

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