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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Qix from Zi Corporation could revolutionize search on mobile phones

Qixfunction1At 3GSM my friend Ben, who knows what is hot, tipped me off on something he found interesting namely Zi Corporation's new S60 application Qix, I ofcourse checked it out and the first impression was nothing less than a spontaneus WOW. Qix could be thought of as Google or A9 on the phone. It lets you find anything just by typing on the keyboard.

The SW will index the content on the phone and enable search from the idle so that the number keypad enters text mode on the second keypress and starts suggesting suitable words from the menu, phonebook or bookmarks which then can be accessed with the Select-key. As the memory of phones is growing the importance of search will evolve just like it did on the web and now also on the desktop. The challenge with the phone is ofcourse that you do not have a full qwerty which means that you need to use text prediction to help with the writing and here Zi with their word completion capability have the base technology for Qix. What they then managed to solve was a major UI innovation how to retain number dialling yet still enable search. It was this little innovation that struck me as brilliant. I know it is a dinky thing, but the devil is in the detail in UI. Another thing I really liked was the way they brought in internet via bookmarks. I need to play with it a bit more, but it will allow you to extend searches to the internet.

Since mobile phones started to integrate phone books into them and people started using them people stop remebering numbers. So there is little need for a number keyboard anymore and the 12-key keypad has become a text keypad, but no one has dared to make text the default, and frankly I do not think one should make it default, and hence this type of thing has not emerged before.

I can't wait to get my hands on this application and test it properly. I have only one requirement for me to start using it is that it needs to support 4 different languages (English, Finnish, Swedish and Danish) in one .sis file as I was told it would take over the editor in the phone, which I do not think would be bad as it has the word completion missing in T9. (I might have gotten this wrong...) So old friends at Zi, send me a mail if you want me to test it, you know my mail address.

12:33 AM in Work | Permalink


If you are using a Mac, a program called Quicksilver does exactly the same thing. It allows you to launch applications, find bookmarks, files, phone numbers, etc. simply via typing on the keyboard.

I've realized that it's my most often used app. Easily. It makes only sense to have something like that on a mobile phone as well.

Posted by: Janne Jalkanen at Feb 26, 2005 11:59:07 AM

My favourite mobile search tool is quite simply Google. I use their PDA version (they also have a b/w alternative) with Opera for Series 60/80. Even the XHTML browser of Nokia 6230 is sufficient for checking news headlines and other simple content.

From the media company or publisher point of view, I don't see future in creating totally separate clients or web sites for mobile or desktop devices. In many cases it's technicallu possible and very affordable to have jsut one XHTML based frontend that recogzines your client and adapts the service for that.

So when I'd go to for example, I'd get the best possible user experience regardless of my browser. Nowadays end users have to search for a special "mobile web site". Why don't we let server do the job? Basically all the content comes from the same databases anyway, static web is history.

I got little off-topic, but this whole concept of searching and finding stuff is a bit lost nowadays with XHTML and dynamic sites not being used as well as they could.

Posted by: Tero Lehto at Mar 2, 2005 1:47:46 PM

Christian, it is time we talked. It is time you got the latest version of Qix. Many good and interesting things have happened since our first announcement! Please call +1 403 714 3463 or write.

Posted by: Jacques LaPointe at Jun 21, 2005 11:59:29 PM

really appreciate YOU — thanks a lot!

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