Palm drops Graffiti

— 4:04 PM on January 13, 2003

Palm-based PDAs have been using the Graffiti character recognition system for years, but that's coming to and end because of a patent dispute with Graffiti-developer Xerox:

The impetus for the switch appears to be legal rather than technical. In April 1997, Xerox sued Palm, claiming that Graffiti was essentially derived from its patented Unistrokes technology. Unistrokes, or "Unistrokes for Computerized Interpretation of Handwriting", as it is referred to in Xerox's 1997 patent, is a system of text-entry using single-stroke symbols for computerized recognition of handwritten text. However, it appeared Palm dodged a legal bullet when, in June 2000, a federal judge dismissed the case. But in late 2001, Xerox won a reversal in the U.S. Court of Appeals and the lawsuit was back on, and it's been hanging over Palm's head ever since.
Personally, I found Graffiti to be an incredibly efficient system for pen-based input. Graffiti characters even crept into my paper-based writing, most likely because I found the characters quicker to scribble than traditional letters. Of course, that didn't help when anyone else tried to read my notes.

Fans of pen-based input need not worry that Palm will be moving to tiny keyboards for input. Palm will be moving to a new version of Graffiti powered by the Jot handwriting recognition system. Jot works anywhere on a PDA's screen, so at the very least, Graffiti 2-powered Palms shouldn't lose screen real estate to static Graffiti pads like current models.

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