So Microsoft’s Tellme subsidiary is making its voice platform available for Windows Mobile 6.5 devices? Yawn, according to entrenched speech recognition provider Nuance Communications.
“Nuance and its partners, as well as other players, are … well ahead in many ways, technically speaking,” in both deployed and demonstrative perspectives, says Michael Thompson, senior vice president and general manager of Nuance Mobile.
Nuance has been poring money into the market and shipping speech apps for many years, in mass volume, he says. Tellme’s solution, released this week, is specifically for Windows Mobile 6.5 devices that are expected to roll out this fall.
In February, Nuance released the Nuance Voice Control (NVC) 2.0, a framework that allows operators and handset OEMs to speech-enable any feature, application or network service on any mobile device they bring to market, including feature phones.
On Wednesday, Tellme announced its “one button” voice access to mobile functions, including voice calls, text and search. In late 2006, Nuance announced its mobile speech platform for users to speak queries to find ringtones, search the Web, find stores or dictate an SMS or e-mail.
Thompson notes that the Nuance solution does not rely on any one search provider; part of the reason for that is operators want options beyond searching the Web so the search function will look into its own databases or catalogs for ringtones, music or games.
It also differs from Tellme in another important aspect: Tellme is offering its platform for free; Nuance’s business model includes royalties and service provisioning for OEMs and transaction, revenue and licensing models with operators.
Nuance is the engine behind such products as the Samsung Instinct and Memoir and Amazon.com’s Kindle.
Nuance provides voice recognition to the automotive sector as well, including software that rides on the Microsoft platform for the Ford Sync. Tellme also is involved in the Sync product, but its software is not embedded in the same way as Nuance’s.
Earlier this year, Nuance’s former chief evangelist, Michael Wehrs, took the CEO position at the Mobile Marketing Association.