If you’ve ever used predictive text to quickly write a message on your phone, then it’s largely thanks to Martin King, who has sadly passed away at the age of 60.
Alongside Cliff Kushler (who went on to develop Swype), King founded Tegic Communications, a company most famous for developing T9, aka predictive text.
Tegic was sold to AOL in 1999 for a cool $350 million and later acquired by Nuance, makers of the Trace T9 text input method for touchscreen phones.
“Martin was a very, very rare and unusual person,” said former Tegic CEO Bill Valenti. “He combined the brilliance and curiosity of an Einstein with the heart and compassion of a Mother Teresa.” Valenti described T9 as a “magical discovery… [that] revolutionized the ability to send text messages.”
Since the early days of T9 we’ve seen the aforementioned Swype and Trace T9 text inputs arrive on smartphones as well as SwiftKey which came out of beta yesterday. This evolution in text prediction began with T9; we should be thankful for Martin King’s efforts and discoveries.