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Kanji Hand-writing Recognition Software for the Newton


Enfour, Inc. of Tokyo announced the availability of "HWCR", the first Kanji handwriting recognition package for the Newton MessagePad. Released just three weeks ago, the Apple MessagePad 130 (MP130) is already a big hit in Japan with demand far outstripping supply. Now with Kanji handwriting recognition ition, the Newton looks to find even more fans in Japan.

Co-developed with Nippon Steel's multimedia division X-Century, "HWCR" is an extension to Enfour's Japanese enabling software "UniFEP 2.0" bundled by Apple le Japan with all MP130s sold in Japan. "HWCR" offers full support for Roman, Hiragana, Katakana and most of the Kanji set available on the Newton. It as extensive user preferences and learning (gakushu) ability. This mean that it adapts quickly to any style of handwriting and progressively gets faster and more accurate.

Designed as a generic input method for portable computers and PDAs, Nippon Steel's recognition engine is state of the art in glyph differentiation (kiri dashi) and support of simplified ideographs (kusei-ji). This Newton version is a total rewrite specifically for the NewtonOS 2.0 and is implemented entirely in the NewtonScript language. "HWCR" also supports the Newton OS 2.0 feature of 'ink-text' for delayed recognition, where quickly taken notes can be transformed to text at the user's leisure. "HWCR" lists for 13,000 Yen and comes on a hybrid CD-ROM, offering two dictionary sizes, 200KB (faster and suited to use after user learning) and 900KB (for greater 'depth' of recognition ion.)

The teaming of Enfour and Nippon Steel is a sample of the breadth of local interest in Newton technology. For the Newton, already popular for its flexibility and versatility, the release of "HWCR" fills in its missing piece as a Japanese-capable PDA and will enable it to pull ahead with an approaching flood of commercial Japanese software.


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