One thing I often pride myself on is my spelling (not typos, and sure, let’s exclude grammar, too). But when I’m on the run (sometimes literally) and am trying to make some sort message on my BlackBerry, all of my mad spelling skills get tossed out of both the window and my learned brain.
Thankfully, there’s plenty of app’s out there to save the misspellers, one being LexSpell for BlackBerry from Beiks. Now, I hear what you’re thinking, how can you review a spell checker? You spell a word wrong, it corrects it – there. Well, it’s not exactly that simple, unfortunately.
For the majority, having picture-perfect spelling skills on a BlackBerry is a must. There’s usually some important business going on in those PIN’s and email’s and what have you, and how seriously will you be taken when you’ve got grade four level English skills? LexSpell comes into play in both your messaging interface and as a standalone app to check spelling on the fly. You can get the application from Beiks’ website in either in OTA download (recommended by Beiks) or through the whole desktop manager deal. Their spellcheck system has apparently been in development for 15 years, so let’s hope it’s got the goods to deliver.
I took Beiks’ word and downloaded LexSpell for BlackBerry over-the-air, and moving as quickly as I did I didn’t notice that you’ve got to download a dictionary to use with the program, too. Why it doesn’t download with the actual app is beyond me, maybe because LexSpell doesn’t want to confuse their British and American dictionaries, but why not just have that in the settings somewhere? Anyway, the original download of the basic LexSpell app went pretty quickly, but the American word database took over a minute to download and install.
So now I’m set to feign spelling majesty. First, let’s take a look at the standalone app on my BlackBerry’s homescreen. A quick click brings you directly into a field for you to enter your query. You can enter text either manually or paste whatever text you’ve got copied on your clipboard (which shows up automatically – a nice feature, definitely). Let’s try a few words to see how well this puppy actually works. First on the docket: “cow”. And the result? “No spelling errors found.” Perfect. Next? Let’s try misspelling “sometimes”, replacing the first “s” with a “d”, a common typo. And? Uh-oh, not good. Sometimes doesn’t even show up in their suggested word list that includes “dottiness”, “domestics”, and, strangely, “dinnertime”. Well that’s not good.
So let’s shrug that off and move on to the LexSpell check that gets built-in to your messaging service. Now you can check your spelling for all the emails and PINs that leave your device, hopefully covering the bases that you missed. After typing your all-important message, click your wheel to show the menu and right at the top you’ll see the “LexSpell…” option. To give your email a onceover, select the option and the application will perform the same operation that the standalone LexSpell does, offering suggestions on how to improve your English skills.
Have a certain acronym or word tossed around the office that isn’t found in the English language? Just like a spellchecker on your Mac or PC, add it into your custom dictionary so that it doesn’t keep popping up as being misspelled. Other ways to configure LexSpell to your specific needs can be found in the obviously-named “Configure LexSpell” option in the menu for the standalone app. You can choose to ignore a plethora of things when spellchecking, including domain names, words with mixed cases, and words with numbers. Perfect for us “BlackBerry” users.
A spell checker for your device is undoubtedly a smart idea, and getting a free one* like LexSpell from Beiks is as good an idea as any. That asterisk is there because after LexSpell gets officially rolled out later this week (they’re still in BETA world), they’re going to gauge responses to see if they should charge for their application. Even if LexSpell doesn’t give a proper correction to “dometimes”, at least it will alert you to your error and gives you an opportunity to save some face (we can’t speak for the overall content of your emails, though). LexSpell is currently available for free from the official Beiks website.
BlackBerry Cool rating: B
For the LexSpell press release, head to the next page.