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June 25, 2008

Vlingo's Speech Recognition Features Come to BlackBerry Devices

By Michael Dinan, TMCnet Editor

One of the world’s most popular mobile devices is getting an upgrade today as it integrates a broad suite of speech recognition functions developed by a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company.
Starting today, Research In Motion’s BlackBerry (News - Alert) devices are integrating with a voice-powered interface from vlingo, a technology that company officials say unlocks access to mobile phone wireless data services.
The feature’s recent integration with Yahoo oneSearch has been credited with opening the door to voice-enabled mobile Internet searches, according to vlingo’s chief executive officer, Dave Grannan.
“Vlingo takes this technology beyond Web search into everyday applications that are now instantly more usable and easier to find because you only need to think about one button and a few spoken words,” Grannan said. “Vlingo believes that we can immediately improve the way every person interacts with their wireless device and BlackBerry is the perfect platform to start our aggressive expansion strategy here in the United States and abroad.”
Specifically, the vlingo technology – free at – will allow users to use their voices to send e-mails and text-messages, search the Web, open applications such as calendars and maps, dial their phones, look up contacts and even send notes to themselves.
Vlingo officials say their service currently is supported on the BlackBerry Pearl, Curve and all 8800 models. The company will be adding additional devices and operating systems later this year, vlingo officials say.
The interface is designed to be user-friendly, according to vlingo.
BlackBerry users press a “convenience” key on the side of their device that lets them speak commands into the phone. Starting today, the new interface – called “vlingo for BlackBerry 1.0” – will give users voice control over what company officials call the most commonly used applications.
Some of what vlingo does will sound familiar to mobile phone users, such as calling anyone in their address book.
But the service takes voice-powered technology a step further, especially as far as mobile phone use goes. Users will be able to send text messages and use their e-mail without typing, for example.
“Simply speak ‘Email John Smith’ to start an email on-the-go, and you can speak the body of the message as well,” vlingo officials said
Users also can perform Internet searches, officials say.
“Look up anything online in one step,” vlingo officials said. “Just say, ‘Web search concert tickets in Boston,’ and the results are displayed.”
Vlingo officials say their interface gives BlackBerry users control over mobile information and tasks with the power of their voices – a feature that means users won’t need to change how they speak or memorize a list of commands.
“They can say what they want, how they want, and vlingo captures the results word for word,” vlingo officials said. “With the most accurate system on the market that gets even better as more users join the community, vlingo gives users the ability to freely mix typing and talking with no limits on what they can say.”
Michael Dinan is a TMCNet Editor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is Fixed Service Strategies for Mobile Network Operators, brought to you by Comverse (News - Alert).

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