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T9 Nav: Future of Mobile Search

Amidst the flair of big name brands like Samsung, LG, and Nokia are the more invisible ingredients to the dish. These are the small things you barely notice when you buy a phone — smaller even than the Carl Zeiss lens you see on your camera. Take T9 for instance.

T9, that little mode you have on your phone that activates predictive texting. Who uses that? I remember my very first phone was a Nokia 3210, the first phone to have moving graphics and predictive text input. In the short run, texting became so much easier with T9 mode turned on.

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Last year, I met James Young who showed me the T9 update for Windows Mobile. Last week, I met with Ray Tsuchiyama, the marketing director for T9 and he showed me a lightweight but powerful new product called T9 Nav. There are two components to the new software which will soon be in all S60, Windows Mobile and Android phones: On Site Search (the “Spotlight” of mobile phones ) and Off Site Search (the keyword optimization tool for telcos):

On Site Search

If you own a Mac, T9 Nav is pretty much like Spotlight search on your mobile: a real time search for any file, contact number or contact info that’s stored on your phone. Brace yourselves — the best thing about the new app is that it doesn’t carry a user interface with it. Since T9 is embedded into your UI, the app runs in the background. On your home screen, simply typing out numbers will also spell out a selection of files and contacts that match what you typed. One practical application is for remembering names of people based on the company they work for. I meet new people everyday and I make it a habit to store their name, number and company on my phonebook straight from the business card. I have a bad habit of forgetting names so all I need to do is type say, “644589” which, on the keypad spells “OGILVY” and all my contacts from Ogilvy PR and Ogilvy 1 will be listed. It also works for photos, videos, bookmarks, URL history and applications — anything on your phone, provided you labeled them correctly. All from your home screen. No apps to launch. No lag. No other buttons to press. Nothing.

Off Site Search

I wrote about the new off site search feature at The Blog Herald. i was also quick to realize that what Ray showed me was more than just a product — it’s a completely new business model for telcos to leverage keyword searches by auctioning off highly sought after words and linking them to mobile phones.

The service will allow local telcos to leverage on the power of keywords by linking certain words to a specific URL. Hence, on the idle screen of your phone if you type say “donuts,” your local telco can simply sell the link to Krispy Kreme, and there’s no way around this convenient system save launching your mobile browser and typing the keywords in your search engine of choice. The telco’s job is to define a cloud of keywords and send them over to be linked to sites they favor through a keyword auction. [BlogHerald]

Predictable high ranking keywords would be terms like “news,” “sports,” “tech” … what if P&G and Unilever duked it out for keywords like “shampoo,” “soap” and other consumer-oriented keywords? Exciting times.

For more information about T9 Nav, you can check out their website. The Philippines is the first country in Asia Pacific to have T9 Nav introduced. Right now, you can download the application and install it on your mobile phone for a fee but soon, it will be installed on all new phones that support the T9 software.

Supported phone models as of the moment:
Nokia N96, Nokia N95 8GB, Nokia N95, Nokia N93i, Nokia N93, Nokia N92, Nokia N91, Nokia N85, Nokia N82, Nokia N81, Nokia N80, Nokia N79, Nokia N78, Nokia N77, Nokia N76, Nokia N75, Nokia N73, Nokia N71, Nokia E90, Nokia E70, Nokia E66, Nokia E65, Nokia E60, Nokia E51, Nokia E50, Nokia 6290, Nokia 6220 Classic, Nokia 6210 Navigator, Nokia 6121 Classic, Nokia 6120 Classic, Nokia 6110 Navigator, Nokia 5700, Nokia 5500, Nokia 5320 XpressMusic, Nokia 3250

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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