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Microsoft reveals typing features in Windows Phone 8

With a number of Windows Phone 8-based smartphones now out in the wild, their owners have been constantly using the virtual keyboard included in Microsoft's latest mobile OS. Today, the company went into detail about the auto-correcting features that have been put into the keyboard.

In a blog post, Microsoft discussed Word Flow, which the company says gives Windows Phone 8 users 94 percent accuracy in terms of auto-correcting words while using the keyboard in Windows Phone 8. Microsoft said they reviewed 2.5 billion English words, including popular slang terms, and then put in about 600,000 words in the dictionary of Windows Phone 8. Microsoft claims these words work best for the corrections and suggestions that the Word Flow feature uses.

It's one thing to find and include the most common words that people will type into the keyboard. It's another for Word Flow to figure out which word would be used next when a person types a phrase out. Microsoft states:

Specifically, we look at three words of context (the fancy word for this is “trigram”) to figure out what words are best to suggest. Imagine if a user typed “I miss” and then tapped the letter “y.” Can you guess what most people are trying to type? The answer is “you,” of course, because we mostly use our phones to stay in touch with people we care about. (If you said “yodeling,” you’re in a very small minority.) Trigrams are great for common SMS phrases like “I love you”. But it also means Windows Phone knows that when you type “Harry,” you’re probably going to type “Potter” afterwards.

There's also the "fat finger" issue when a person presses down a finger that can cover more than one key on the virtual keyboard. In some situations, it could cause the wrong key to be pressed. The above video shows how Microsoft solved this problem. Basically, a key's "hit target" changes constantly as a person types with the virtual keyboard and the on board dictionary in Windows Phone 8 helps to figure out how big or small the hit target should be on each key.

Finally, the dictionary in Windows Phone 8 is also learning what a Windows Phone 8 user types into the keyboard the more he or she uses it. As a result, more accurate corrections are provided the more a person types with a Windows Phone 8 device.

Source: Windows Phone blog | Image via Microsoft

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