Teenage texting champion wins $50,000 prize

Teenage texting champion wins $50,000 prize

Summary: For typing a 149-character message in 39 seconds, a 17 year-old has managed to scoop a $50,000 prize at the sixth National Texting Championship held in New York.

TOPICS: Mobility

17 year-old Austin Weirschke from Wisconsin won $50,000 at the National Texting Championship held in New York City.

The sixth competition of its kind, the tournament tested American entrants on their ability to text quickly and efficiently.

Sponsored by LG Electronics, the competition featured one device with a physical keyboard. Speed, accuracy and dexterity were all scrutinized through a number of tasks.

Some of the tasks were fairly simple; memorizing a message and then quickly typing it out; translating shorthand 'text speak' to standard English -- for example, TTYL (talk to you later), and others impeded the challengers by blocking their vision or tying their hands behind their back.

One round involved writing messages backwards more quickly than rival competitors, whereas in another, entrants had to type "Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are; up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky" while wearing vision-blocking headwear.

Weirschke, who won the competition last year, defended his title by typing a 149-character message in just 39 seconds, beating 10 rivals between the ages of 16 and 24. Since May, competition has been whittled down from over 100,000 entrants.

The teenager says the money will be used to fund his college education, and attributes his success to practicing with his mother, typing random phases and words, and texting friends. He defended his title but had close competition as 16 year-old New Yorker Kent Augustine lost out to the champion by only a few seconds in the final round.

The high school student plans to keep improving and return next year.

Topic: Mobility

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  • what a waste

    of time
    human life

    after writing that I felt a little jaded. but then I reread the title of the article.
    • Has this little Urchin...

      ...ever had an actual face-to-face conversation with anyone...or can he only text? Probably not.
  • I find it hard to believe this texting tile competition was...

    not done on a touch device using Swype ;-) !

    The fact that there are so few Physical Qwerty keyboard Smartphone devices out there for teenagers who come from Texting/Featurephones, but graduate to Smartphones amazes me. I understand that not everyone wants one, but Nokia and RIM are fading away and leaving a large untapped market out there (in my opinion they are not fading away BECAUSE they have QWERTY keyboard phones, they missed the boat in other ways).
    • Have you ever tried

      typing an SMS with the phone held under the desk, so nobody notices? Not easy on a Swype keyboard...
  • Where the heck do they get the funding for this contest?

    Is LG really putting up ALL of the funding it takes to put on a contest involving 100,000 contestants, plus the prize money? Are they really getting that much of a return on their investment?
    Michael Kelly
  • Right. He'll probably use the money and buy a car

    then get injured or killed while texting and driving.
    William Farrel
  • Pretty cool

    For 50 G's, pretty cool...interesting they have comps like this!

    Kenneth Fingerman
    Kenneth Fingerman
  • pretty cool indeed

    Congrats and good luck with his studies.

    This reminds me of all the other fads that come and go over time.
    Although some do take time to die..

    example the IT professional who plays games on his pc/laptop/phone/tablet while at work...

    then there is the commentator who troll these sites..