Alternative text input methods can improve productivity
The Windows Text Input Panel works well on full sized Tablet PCs, but takes up too much of the display on the new UMPC devices. There are alternative handwriting and text input keyboards that can be used to speed up text input.
As readers know I have been testing out the Samsung Q1 UMPC device and posting a few entries regarding my experiences. I promise to start posting entries about other mobile gadgets soon too, but had to put up this one first. Since the Samsung Q1 and other UMPC devices run Windows XP Tablet Edition, users can write on the display using the Tablet Input Panel (TIP). The TIP allows you to enter handwriting, single characters, and text using the on screen QWERTY keyboard. The problem I have found is the TIP panel takes up almost a third of the display on these smaller screens and is a bit cumbersome when trying to enter text. I recently installed ritePen from EverNote that allows you to write anywhere on the display and is an excellent solution if you want to use handwriting. The Sony UX micro computers actually come with ritePen installed as their default handwriting technology. I enjoy taking notes in handwriting with ritePen, but still find some type of keyboard input system to be a bit faster and more accurate.
I have been using various text input solutions on my Palm and Pocket PC devices since the late 90s and generally stuck with Fitaly and MessagEase. As I was thinking more about text input on the Samsung Q1 it just came to me to see if either of these were available for the Tablet PC and I was very excited to see there is a Tablet PC compatible version of both Fitaly and MessagEase. I quickly downloaded and installed both on the Samsung Q1 to see how they performed and was immediately seeing improvements in my text input speed and accuracy. Both of these methods require a bit of training, especially MessagEase. However, I am well trained on MessagEase and it is my preferred text input solution. I love the ability to make it transparent and find the slide method convenient.