Recomax Technology is betting the pen will be mightier than the voice as a Chinese character input system. Recomax specialises in technologies for traditional Chinese handwriting recognition that allow users to input Chinese easily by writing on a special pad. Voice recognition technology has been predicted by some to be the next trend for data input, but Recomax senior system analyst Alex Cheung believes it is unlikely to replace handwriting input system soon because of its relatively low accuracy. 'Unless you are in an extremely quiet environment, the software at this stage is still unable to differentiate the real pronunciation from the background noises,' he said. 'In the old days, keying in Chinese characters was a complicated process because users are required to memorise the codes. Now, with the system and the writing pad, users no longer have to learn keyboard-based input standards.' Earlier generations of Chinese handwriting input systems had limited functionality and a non user-friendly input device, which made them unpopular. 'But with technology advancement, it now has the capability to replace the mouse and the keyboard' for Chinese character input, Mr Cheung said. He established Recomax in Hong Kong three years ago, after working for more than a decade in software research and development in Taiwan. It was there that Mr Cheung gained interest in developing a Chinese handwriting input system. But believing that most Taiwanese computer users were accustomed to the Pinyin keyboard input methodology, he instead focused on the Hong Kong market. Although the Taiwan Government has played a more supportive role in software development than the SAR, Mr Cheung said working from Hong Kong would help him to understand the local market. Recomax earlier this year launched its Royal Pen handwriting input system which took three years to develop. The system offers the users a quick and simple way to input Chinese characters, requiring no training. After writing a single character, the software will list all related idioms it may be signifying - saving the time of typing out the customary four-character phrase. It is adopted for characters that are unique to Hong Kong. Users can search characters of the same pronunciation in Cantonese or Putonghua. 'When compared with other competitive products, Royal Pen has offered a wider choice of Cantonese characters,' said user Jenny Tang, director of Best Product Enterprises. Recomax's clientele includes Animation Services, and Whiz Computer Learning Centre, and the Hong Kong Immigration Department. The software alone costs $250 and a writing pad is $400. A cordless pad costs $700. The Royal Pen package can be found in computer shopping malls. Recomax plans to further enhance the functionality of its product by porting it to Windows NT platform and adding simplified Chinese characters. This article appears courtesy of the Software Industry Information Centre (SIIC) Journal. Contact the SIIC, phone 2788 5693, fax 2788 5878, e-mail: email@example.com . URL: www.it.hkpc.org/siic .