We just finished our, not so good, fuzzy and messy, barcamp phnom penh presention about SMS usability. With minimum efford of slide preparation, I followed the golden rule of barcamp, prepare your presentation on site.
I'm not sure that the imagicharacters are invented by someone yet, Orange or True Move?
The interesting thing is we could adopt this kind "imaginative" method would be helpful for non-english languages. For example, Khmer people might not familiar with a shape of characters, but phonetics. We might be able to represent each key pad with tones.
Our experience while implementing GeoChat in Mukdahan, we found that 90% of users are not familiar with Thai input and that turns out to a low quality data. By the way, this is still a huge challenge. QWERTY keyboard is more popular than DVORAK keyboard, which is invented to improve QWERTY user hands' workload, even DVORAK is better.
We've an interesting discussion with our technology partner, InSTEDD, about prototyping this "imaginative" input method, and it will be prototyped soon!