For me, the most frustrating thing about using a handheld computer is input—unless you sit down and fold out a collapsible keyboard for your Palm OS or Pocket PC device, jotting even the briefest note legibly can be a chore.
In the past few years, PhatWare has made pen-based PDA input easier to manage with its Calligrapher handwriting recognition application for Pocket PC.
I recently tested Calligrapher 7.4 with a high-resolution-display Toshiba e805. While I cant say Im ready to write the Great American Novel—or even this brief review—with a stylus, Calligrapher, which began shipping in November, is a definite improvement to the Pocket PCs native input mechanisms.
I had the best results while writing in all capital letters, using the case-toggle button on Calligraphers tool bar to select the proper case for what I was writing. Calligrapher doesnt require training, but I could reconfigure the letter shapes that Calligrapher expected from me to favor lowercase letters or different uppercase letter shapes.
Calligrapher, which sells for $29.95, did an OK job of recognizing my characteristically poor handwriting. The accuracy depended on how carefully I wrote.
If I used Calligrapher during a longer period, Id probably employ the applications on-screen keyboard more often than its handwriting recognition. I would drag the keyboard around the screen and toggle between large and small versions of the tool. The keyboard could recommend word completions based on what Id started typing, and, unlike the Pocket PCs native completion feature, which offers only one completion suggestion at a time, Calligrapher offers three.
For more information about Calligrapher 7.4 or to download a free trial version of the software, check out www.phatware.com.
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