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3GSM 2006

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We first covered FasTap from Digit Wireless back in 2004 at the 3GSM and CTIA shows.

Their major commercial success so far has been the LG 6190 for Telus Mobility. The 6190 has been extremely successful in boosting ARPU, which is the whole selling point of FasTap. The idea is that by making text entry easier, it encourages more use of text and IM services, which means users spend more money on data services.

The 6190 has been so successful that Telus is now preparing to launch two more FasTap phones, one from LG and one from another manufacturer. Digit also told us to expect a FasTap phone in the U.S. this year.

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What's really new from Digit at this show is a whole new use for FasTap technology: media and shortcut keys.

While FasTap is generally associated with adding letter keys to the numeric keypad, their patents are actually much broader: they cover normal number keys, with raised keys in-between, and software that detects accidental key presses, so you don't mis-type even if you mash your finger down and press several keys at once.

Phone makers can put letter keys in-between the numeric keypad, or they can add other keys like music control keys, etc. Digit was showing off a few mock-ups of how that might work.

The company was also showing off some new mock-ups of letter-number designs.

Company reps told us the new mock-up designs have been generating renewed interest among manufacturers. While most companies are aware of FasTap, apparently being able to hold a mock-up in hand here at 3GSM has convinced one or more manufacturers to go ahead and develop a FasTap phone.

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