Entering English text is not too bad with just a cell phone’s number pad. But is this possible with Chinese? How many button presses on average to key in a Chinese character?
Average number of button presses I don’t know. But Chinese phones will often have a stroke system. Button 1 being a vertical stroke, etc. The way Chinese is written is that each word has the strokes done in a certain order, so the stroke system works pretty well. Another has a “radical” system, though I think I only saw that once. I most often used the pinyin entry system which uses Latin characters to spell out a Chinese word, even though my phone was also equipped with the stroke system. The software in the phone would quickly pop up a character it predicts you’re about to spell out. The others also had a predictive system just like T9.
All of them are pretty darn fast. I would personally say the average text-messeger in China would toast your average text-messeger in America, if not just because of more practice. Just my personal experience.
to add onto WonJohn Soup, when you type in the romanization, you get a list of corresponding characters to choose from. Kinda like autocomplete. It works reasonably well.