Microsoft Windows Mobile to get voice command capability
Microsoft has high hopes that a new speech-recognition application for the forthcoming Windows Mobile operating system will be attractive enough to draw people to the phone platform.
On Wednesday, Microsoft planned to announce a new service that will work on Windows Mobile 6.5 devices and will let people speak into the phone to search the Internet, make phone calls and dictate text messages. The technology comes from Tellme, a company that offers hosted voice recognition services and was acquired by Microsoft in 2007.
Key to the offering is a dedicated button that launches the service on the phone, said Marcello Typrin, director of product management for Tellme. To make it really easy to use, the service should be accessible from a single point, he said. That compares to the iPhone experience, where users must navigate to the apps page and open the Google Mobile App to use a similar voice-activated search service.
In addition, the Tellme application is about more than just search. Windows Mobile 6.5 users will be able to say "call" and a name, and the phone will automatically dial a name from the address book. Users can also say "text," and then dictate a message that will be converted to text and then sent. Otherwise, if users just start speaking, the technology will automatically search for the words.
The Tellme service will automatically be set to use Microsoft's Live Search, but people will be able to change it to use another search provider if they want to, Typrin said. "We don't want to force someone onto a search engine they don't want to use," he said.
Windows Mobile customers can already use voice commands with Live Search, but the Tellme application adds the text and voice call features and pulls all three into a single, easily accessible service.