How about using your voice to access information rather than touching a keypad? That’s what Tellme advocates.
The company, which was acquired by Microsoft about two years ago, is offering its voice platform for Windows Mobile 6.5 devices. The 6.5 devices won’t go on the market until the fall, but handset makers and carriers are invited to tap Tellme’s know-how today so it’s ready when the devices are rolled out.
Tellme executives say they’re offering a service that allows people to get whatever they want with the press of one button. Users do that by sending a text, making a call or searching for information. “We focused on things people do most and fused that into a single unified experience,” says Dariusz Paczuski, senior director of consumer services at Tellme.
The basic idea is speech can make mobile devices more useful so they can be used while doing other things. The system is designed so that users get answers either verbally or through a “glanceable” screen experience.
Because Tellme’s solution is network based, the company has gathered a lot of data. It’s tuned to recognize how people speak in various parts of the United States.
Tellme offers its solution at no cost to the device OEM or mobile operator. Part of the reason for making it free is to drive uptake in Windows Mobile units and to generate calls, texts and searches.
Devices with a touch interface probably make the most sense for a service like Tellme’s, but it also has use cases for devices with traditional qwerty keyboards, according to Marcello Typrin, director of product management and planning
Tellme says it takes 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. The same can be said for other tasks, such as making calls or sending text messages.
Tellme cites a study conducted by Sanderson Studios showing more than 70 percent of respondents said voice is superior to keypad or touch-based methods to perform some of the most popular mobile tasks, including looking up a business listing or placing a call.
Mountain View, Calif.-based Tellme hasn’t been idle the past two years. About 45 percent of premium 411 calls in the United States are running on Tellme’s platform, including AT&T’s mobile 411 service, and the company’s technology is part of the Ford Sync product.