AdelaVoice, a startup founded in January of this year, has just launched a compelling Android application called StartTalking that addresses the texting while driving issue. The software creates outgoing and reads incoming texts solely through voice commands, without needing to touch or look at your smartphone.
Vlingo this morning introduced a feature that reads messages for drivers, eliminating the need to take their hands off the wheel. It’s the latest interesting offering from the startup, which is effectively competing in the speech-recognition space against giants like Google, Microsoft and Nuance.
Microsoft today said it has tapped Yap to power its voice-to-text application for BlackBerry users on Sprint’s network. The move is something of a coming-out for the North Carolina startup, which has joined a crowded field of speech recognition software vendors.
Nuance is pulling the plug on SpinVox’s consumer service, which transcribes voice to text for UK users. The move is a logical one given Nuance’s strategy of selling the offering to corporate customers, but SpinVox’s users have taken to Twitter to voice their displeasure.
AT&T has taken a minority stake in Vlingo in a move that could have major repercussions for Nuance’s (s nuan) patent infringement suit against the voice navigation startup. As part of the deal, Vlingo will integrate its offerings with AT&T’s Watson, a core speech recognition technology that serves as a foundation for voice-activated products. Vlingo will all but abandon the IBM-developed technology that it had been using — and which is at the heart of Nuance’s lawsuit.
“Our goal is to move everything to AT&T (s t),” Vlingo CEO Dave Grannan told me this morning. “If Nuance decides to proceed, they’ll essentially be suing us for violating patents — and this is the crazy thing — and the alleged violation occurs in the IBM engine Nuance licensed to us and, by the way, we don’t use anymore.”
Nuance executives were not immediately available for comment. Read More about AT&T Backs Vlingo as Nuance Lawsuit Looms
When it comes to designing intuitive, compelling user interfaces, Apple (s aapl) is hands-down the best. Starting with the Mac but most evident with each new generation of “i” products — iMac, iPod and iPhone — the company has demonstrated time and again what so many other device makers and mobile operators have failed to understand: It’s the UI, stupid! So when Apple features Voice Control in commercials for the newest iPhone 3GS, the mobile industry should sit up and take notice.
For those under a rock over the last month, Voice Control is Apple’s VUI (voice user interface) that allows you to make calls and control the iPod features on the iPhone 3GS by speaking, rather than pressing numbers or navigating via the touchscreen. None of the functions of Voice Control are particularly new, and their implementation on the iPhone has been met with mixed reviews. Still, Apple has an uncanny ability to recognize and deliver features that consumers find compelling — witness the incredible success of the touchscreen. Read More about Is iPhone’s Voice Control the Sound of Things to Come?