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.
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?
Nuance Communications (s NUAN) said today it’s offering an upgrade to its line of speech recognition software aimed at carriers and handset makers. The new software includes a combination of on-handset speech recognition and server-based transcription that means it can do far more than navigate an address book. It’s also a sign that carriers are interested in offering up voice recognition as an easy way to navigate through content on mobile phones — while at the same time getting consumers to use their data plans.
The new software will allow users to dictate texts and emails, find information on the web and bring up applications such as Twitter on their mobile phones (check out the demo). Sounds a lot like the functionality offered by my all-time favorite phone application, Vlingo, which prompted me to override the existing Nuance voice control on my BlackBerry. Read More about Move Over Touch: Voice Recognition Grows Up
Nuance Communications (s NUAN) said today it’s bought several patents related to IBM’s (s IBM) speech recognition technology, joining Microsoft (s msft) as one of the two the largest licensors of such technology. IBM, Nuance and Microsoft all provide speech-to-text and voice recognition products, an industry that’s growing in importance as devices makers seek more intuitive user interfaces. Even Google (s GOOG) is trying to stake a claim in this sector by developing its own speech platform. But aside from consolidating the field, Nuance’s acquisition could end up causing speech-related startups some grief. Read More about Nuance Takes On Microsoft and Google With IBM Deal
Australian Man Charged for Uploading Baby Swinging Video; 60-year-old Chris Illingworth arrested after re-posting a viral video of a man swinging a baby around by the arms. (theage.com.au via BoingBoing)
Moscow Venture Fund Puts $5M into Tvigle; venture capital fund managed by Allianz Rosno will take a 24-percent stake in the content company. (Quintura Blog)
First-Look at Fallon’s Late-Night Show Debuts Tonight Online; nightly 5-minute episodes of the forthcoming late-night talk show will feature the comedian doing bits and offer glimpses behind the scenes as the show is created. (Variety)
FOXSports.com Taps EveryZing; partnership will allows fans to look for specific keywords in video clips online. (MediaPost)
TV Guide (the Magazine) to Launch Online Companion; only problem — the owners of the print publication do not own the online TVGuide.com business. (paidContent)
Content Distribution News; Jaman to distribute 60Frames content such as Who Cut the Cake?, Carpet Bros. and Lonely Corn Muffin. (emailed release); Blinkbox Signs Big Studios; film and TV site gets content from 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures Television International and Warner Bros. Television. (emailed release)
Filmmaker to Install Video Camera in Fake Eye; Rob Spence’s prosthetic eye will have a built-in wireless video camera to record everything he sees. (Gadget Lab Blog)
Vlingo’s new software for BlackBerrys (the link goes live at 5 a.m. PT), which gives me the ability to navigate my phone entirely by voice, has me feeling like a kid on Christmas morning. I press a button on my Pearl, wait for a chime, simply say, “Web search, weather San Francisco,” and the browser opens and delivers me the weather in San Francisco. I can also use it to text and send emails to my contacts, though admittedly without the benefit of typing, punctuation is a problem.
As Om has pointed out, voice makes navigating phones easier, but the Vlingo application does eat up bandwidth. Regardless, the Vlingo software for BlackBerry devices is powered by the same speech recognition engine behind Yahoo’s oneSearch, the voice-enabled web search software that had me so excited I downloaded it in the middle of the keynote speech introducing it. Read More about I Talk, Vlingo Listens
I get very nervous when I ride shotgun with people who decide to read their Blackberry or send text messages when driving. It is an inherently stupid and dumb thing to do, considering that not only it puts their own well being at risk, it raises dangers for everyone on the around. There have be an increase in number of the accidents as a result of the DWT (Driving while TXTing)
Apparently there are many such people out there. A survey by Common Knowledge Research Services on behalf of Vlingo, polled 5,000 people about their text messaging habits. The study found that nearly 28% people send text messages while driving. The drivers in South Carolina (word), Tennessee, Georgia, Maryland and Louisiana are the worst offenders. Arizona has the lowest incidence of DWT, the survey reports.
Vlingo, a provider of voice-based mobile services, has raised a $20 million second round led by Yahoo, along with participation from past ba…
Following Vodafone’s (NYSE: VOD) Arun Sarin, Yahoo’s EVP of Connected Life Marco Boerries came on stage to tell the audience about its vario…