Dom Perignon IV Speed Contest Results
The Dom Perignon IV Speed Contest ended on November 7th, with the forty participants recording an impressive average speed of 52 words per minute for text entry on a handheld! In addition, it saw the 80 WPM mark broken for the third time in the history of this biennial contest.
The Dom Perignon contest was sponsored by Textware Solutions and cosponsored by Astraware, Blue Nomad, Neohand, PocketInformant, SoftMaker, StylusCentral.com, Quik Sense, and ValkSoft. The winners in the two categories are Jim Belich of St. Paul, Minnesota, and Erwin Franz of La Palma, California:
Category Method Speed Winner Palm Handhelds FitalyVirtual for the T3 80.88 wpm Jim Belich Pocket PCs Fitaly for the PPC 77.44 wpm Erwin Franz
Each winner will receive the prestigious Dom Perignon award. Over 40 participants from all over the world entered the contest this year using a variety of input methods from different vendors. The contest results confirm that there are now faster alternatives to handwriting recognition on PDAs: The average speed achieved with handwriting method is well below the average 52 words per minute achieved by all participants.
Another conclusion suggests that the Fitaly keyboard layout, based on idea of minimizing pen travel, provide the fastest speed on PDAs. Participants using Fitaly keyboards for Palm handhelds and Pocket PCs cruised at a speed approaching 59 words per minute.
Several participants made attempts with more than one input method, thereby showing that the learning curve for trying alternative keyboards is very short. Several of those who ended up with scores in the 70s had never used Fitaly before the contest. One example in point is Jim Belich who won this contest with FitalyVirtual at 80.88 wpm. Jim is actually the same person who won in 2002 at 84 wpm on a thumboard. So while the thumboard was marginally faster, one may wonder if the slim difference justifies using two hands instead of one, when you are likely to need the other hand for other tasks like holding a phone in one hand, while the other hand enters notes on your conversation.
Like prior contests held in 1998, 2000, and 2002, the Dom Perignon IV Speed Contest confirms that it is possible to enter text in PDAs at speeds over 50 words per minute. Actually, the contest even registered 14 entries over 60 wpm, and 10 over 70 wpm.
PDAs continue to play a key role as real business tools. PDA-based programs like email, messaging, and other important data entry applications have become a way of daily life. The fast single-handed input methods used in this contest continue to prove the important role they play. These methods are actually so efficient, as well as ergonomically better suited, that the computer in your pocket may well become your primary computer!
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