Windows Mobile to get voice command capability

Users will be able to search, send texts and place calls using voice commands

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.

While customers may need to push fewer buttons to launch the service, they have to push buttons more often while using the service than do their iPhone-using counterparts. With the Tellme text application, for example, users hit the button before they start speaking their message and hit it again when they're done speaking. By contrast, the Google Mobile App automatically starts listening when the user moves the phone to the ear and then stops when the user is finished speaking.

The offering will come free with Windows Mobile 6.5, the next generation of the operating system that is scheduled to start appearing on phones in the second half of the year, but it's up to the phone maker to include it. Microsoft doesn't intend to make the service exclusive to Windows Mobile phones, so other platforms may start using it in the future, Typrin said.

The application will also become available in Microsoft's forthcoming mobile application marketplace, so people who buy Windows Mobile 6.5 phones that don't come preloaded with the capability will be able to download it later. If they do, they'll follow instructions to assign the Tellme function to a specific button on the phone. They could, for example, set up the service so that pressing and holding the Windows button that comes on most Windows Mobile phones will activate the service.

In addition, the service should get other capabilities on an ongoing basis, Typrin said. For example, in the future a user might be able to say "play Rolling Stones" to play music from the music player.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags windowsmobilespeech recognition

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?