Palm to replace Graffiti

Palm will replace the Graffiti handwriting technology it uses in its PDAs with a new solution called Jot.

The Jot software will be renamed Graffiti 2, and will be embedded in current and future versions of the OS.

According to PalmSource officials, Jot emulates more natural writing input. While in Grafitti, a user has to write an upside down L to depict a 't' in Jot the same letter is written as a plain 't'. "Users don't have to read a manual," said Michael Higashi, director of OS marketing for PalmSource.

While the new software may make most users happier, the same may not be said for retailers who still have plenty of the older Grafitti-based Palm OS devices on their shelves.

Marlene Somsak, from Palm Solutions Group, said Palm was not sure whether to roll out Grafitti 2-based devices as new models or do what she called a "soft roll", upgrading the current models with new handwriting software.

As for so-called power users who have invested the time in learning Grafitti, Higashi said the transition is as easy as going from a notebook keyboard to a desktop keyboard.

Palm intends to have Grafitti 2 products this year, but Somsak would not give a more precise date.

Besides the handwriting recognition, the Jot technology will recognize English and European characters that are based on the Roman alphabet. Jot will separately sell text-entry utilities WordComplete and QuickNotes.

Some industry analysts also point to a law suit filed by Xerox over copyright infringement for its handwriting-recognition software technology as a reason for the switch.

Somsak said the Xerox lawsuit was a consideration, but once the company began studying alternatives it realized the Jot technology was superior and PalmSource will stay with it no matter the outcome of the lawsuit.

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