Microsoft's subsidiary Tellme has announced a mobile voice service that combines content and communications, simplifying how people interact with their phones.
Unlike other voice-based services, Tellme allows people to press one button, say what they want and get it, whether that is to send a text, make a call or search for information.
The company has designed a unique version of this experience specifically for Windows phones due out this fall. BlackBerry users already have access to this service.
Many of the most popular phone functions are behind a single button. Windows phone users just press the side button of their phone to send a text by saying "text" then speaking the text message. It is also possible to initiate a call simply by saying "call" and then the name of anyone in their contact list or search the Web with Microsoft Live Search by speaking your request, such as "weather in San Francisco, California", "Pizza in Kansas City" or "mother's day gift ideas".
"Because it's so intuitive, we believe there is a real opportunity for voice to materialize as the leading user interface for the phone," said Dariusz Paczuski, senior director of consumer services at Tellme. "By bringing voice access to calling, texting and searching together we reduce `menu surfing' on phones and make the convenience of voice more tangible for everyday people."
Of course there are comparisons with other touch-centric mobile devices. But the company says that in a head to head comparison, it's clear why people prefer voice over touch. For example, it requires four touches and more than 20 keystrokes to find a business with the Apple iPhone, while it only takes one button push and one verbal command to find the same business with Tellme.
Tellme's research shows similar results for other tasks, such as making calls, sending text messages and searching for content like traffic, movies, news and sports.
"For example, we've integrated voice access to Live Search on all Sprint Instinct phones and subscribers love it," continued Paczuski. "In fact, we've seen impressive adoption of voice with 82 percent of search queries on Instinct phones initiated by voice."
Tellme will be available for free on Windows Mobile 6.5 phones in the Fall 2009 when the new phones hit store shelves. Initially available in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile store, Tellme will also make the service available for free to mobile operators and carriers to embed `on-device' for a voice experience right out of the box.