Graffiti is a system for handwriting recognition containing mostly single-stroke letters since the user is basically writing blind, unable to see their script on a small personal assistant device screen. Graffiti was developed by Palm, Inc. for PDAs that required a stylus. The creator, Jeff Hawkins, wanted users to be able to write legibly on a small screen; but that required single-stroke letters and other programming. His program recognized stylus strokes and translated them accordingly. Different stylus strokes in Graffiti enacted capitalization, caps lock, and other features.

There was an Apple version of Palm s Graffiti program as well. The Apple Newton MessagePad from the mid-2000s used Graffiti unofficially when its own handwriting recognition didn t work properly.

In 2002, Palm was sued by Xerox, another company with single-stroke handwriting recognition, which felt that Graffiti infringed on their specific single-stroke patent. Xerox initially won the lawsuit. Graffiti revamped some of its strokes and did away with the single-stroke characters in its updated platform, Graffiti 2. But this created delays as users waited for the device to recognize their strokes and interpret them correctly. When smartphones were invented, Graffiti became much less relevant, but the system still exists.

Graffiti Pro is currently available for Android users. The app allows users to employ a stylus or their fingers. The app markets itself to users who don t like their device s keyboard and is available through the Google Play store.

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.
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