Kannuu, a service specializing in lookup technology, has a new iPhone software development kit (SDK). These tools will give developers a different way to use search within their apps beyond the default methods Apple supplies.
The key part of Kannuu’s functionality is that it doesn’t require users to use the iPhone keyboard when searching for something. Say you have a contact list in your application; you input the first letter of a person’s name and immediately an overlap will appear giving your four options for the next letter. These letters are in the up, down, left and right positions. This method gives you a huge click zone to hit the letter you want rather than having to hit a small key on the iPhone keyboard. Clicking the center button will give you more options.
Better still is that Kannuu can utilize the accelerometer for input. This means that if the letter you want to select is on the left hand side, you simply tilt the device to the left to select it.
The technology runs an algorithm in the background to determine the most likely letters you are looking for. It can be very accurate because it only searches the database for the application you are in, so you cannot mistype for an entry that doesn’t exist.
Obviously this technology would be ideal in a situation where you don’t have a lot of time to stare at the iPhone’s screen — such as when you’re in a car.
Kannuu’s technology works with other devices as well, as we’ve written about in the past. One recent example beyond a phone is Coby Electronics using kannuu to handle user interaction with its new music players.
The Kannuu iPhone SDK is very flexible in terms of how developers can use it. It can be built in as part of an application and reside of the device, it can sit server-side (handy if the app you’re building is just a web app), or a combination of the two.
The SDK is available to developers for free. Once an app is commercialized, developers will either pay a small royalty if the app is sold through the App Store or pay a charge based on how its used if it’s a web app.
Kannuu has only taken angel funding to date. It is in the early stages of discussions about doing a proper funding round now.
Check out MobileBeat2008, VentureBeat’s conference on July 24.