Sabtu, 26 April 2008

If your fingers are too slow for you to easily search for local info on your mobile devices, Tellme is offering a solution. Your voice.

On Wednesday, the Microsoft subsidiary announced it was adding local "on-the-go" information to its mobile voice portal, beginning with some BlackBerry models. Instead of typing or looking through menus, a user who has downloaded the software just holds the "talk" button and says a keyword. The results are shown on the screen.


After the BlackBerry, the service is expected to be available on future Helio, Windows Mobile, and Apple iPhone devices. According to news reports, it was launched on BlackBerry first, rather than devices with Microsofts own Windows Mobile, because of BlackBerrys support for Java.

Mike McCue, TellMes founder and general manager, said the service not only uses a voice interface, but it provides a specific answer to a specific question -- "like a movie show time, local weather info or driving directions."

Users also do not need to type in their location, as Tellme uses global positioning system (GPS) technology to gauge a users position.

Some of the uses for the service include a Business Finder, Movies, Traffic, Weather, Maps, or Driving Directions. As one example, a user can say a business name or a business category, such as "coffee" or "hardware," and results from Microsofts Live Search will provide the business address, driving directions, and options to call the business or to share with a friend.

Similarly, saying the name of a movie theater will result in theaters closest to you, movie show times, driving directions, and, via Fandango, the ability to buy tickets. "Traffic" will result in a map of current traffic conditions, "weather" will show a five-day forecast, and "driving directions" followed by saying or typing the destination yields turn-by-turn directions.

There were no details about costs to the user, but there are news reports that the service will eventually include ads.


Lewis Ward, an analyst with industry research firm IDC, said that Tellmes approach acknowledges that "mobile devices are not the Web," and that every keystroke counts.

The new Tellme service, he said, "sounds quite similar to Yahoos oneSearch 2.0 product," which also works for some BlackBerry models and uses voice. He said he saw the Yahoo service demonstrated at the recent CTIA trade show, where a user can say "pizza" and a zip code, and can then view a listing of every pizza parlor in that area.

Someday, will pizza parlors be only a verbal request away on every phone? Ward said it was too early to tell, and that it will take six months or more to see what the adoption rate is. Among other things, he said, it could remain a service only on higher-end devices.


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