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February 20, 2008

BusinessWeek mobile killer apps: two do speech recognition

This is part of their Wireless World special report.

The particular story I want to talk about, "Killer Mobile Apps," is Handango's list of most downloaded software for smartphones. But I can't link to it because it's a slide show that comes up as a pop-up window.

Here're the ten:

MobiTV - $10 per month to watch MSNBC, ABC, Discovery Channel, etc.

Spb Mobile Shell 1.5 - uncluttering Windows Mobile

Spb Pocket Plus - customizing the Windows Mobile display

- Provided by Nuance Communications for $6 a month, the software enables users of devices based on the Palm OS to voice-dial, dictate e-mail and text messages, and view Web content without pressing a button.

Ringtone Megaplex for BlackBerry
- "Designed for Research In Motion's (RIMM) BlackBerry devices, this software offers more than 1,000 distinctive ringtones in genres from classical to pop."

Microsoft Voice Command -
From Microsoft for $39.99. This is another speech recognition application that makes it easier to use voice commands, this time to look up contacts, make phone calls, and choose music.

Pocket Mirror Standard Edition
- sync MS Outlook features to Palm OS

Ringphonic Lite
- $7 per month to let BlackBerry users customize their ringtones

Pocket Informant 2007
- For Pocket PC users, it allows them to create and move appointments and tasks

Spd Diary 2.5 - Launcher for Windows Mobile Pocket Outlook

UPDATE: I signed on for Sprint's Voice Command which will be billing me $5/month. I was able to set up the service through a rep chat service on the Sprint Web site. I then hit asterisk, dial, which started some voice instructions which said something about adding names to an address book on the Sprint Web site. Now, I'm told by another Sprint rep that this isn't necessary.

You basically dial "*" and then are prompted for a name or number. It works for names in my address book, but I'll have to give it a thorough test to come to a final conclusion.

I also downloaded Nuance's VoiceControl which is embedded speech recognition software for navigating through Palm OS allowing you to do a Web search or add an item in your address book.

You hold down the side button on the Treo 700p, you hear a beep, then you dictate a command, then let go of the button.

Here's a sampling of the commands available (the full list):

  • Phone Calls - Call [Contact's name] + [phone type (optional)].    
    • Call John Doe.
    • Call John Doe home.
    • Call John Doe office.
    • Call John Doe mobile.
  • Phone Dialing - "Dial" [phone number].    
    • Dial 555-1212.
    • Dial 513-555-1234
  • Call Voicemail - "Call Voicemail"
  • Quick E-mails - "E-mail" [Contact's name] Subject [subject text] Body [body text].    
    • E-mail John Smith subject meeting body John, I'm going to be late to the meeting.  Go ahead and start it without me.
    • E-mail John Smith body Call me as soon as you get this.  We need to talk.
  • Calendar - "Add Appointment" [appointment text] Date [date of appointment] Time [time of appointment].    
    • Add appointment dentist date January fifth time ten o'clock.
    • Add appointment Joe's birthday date March second.
  • Web sites - "Go to website" [website URL]    
    • Go to website google.com    
  • Quick Web    
    • Weather [ZIP code]    
      • Weather 10001


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