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Vlingo Users Gain More Control
Version 3.0 of the vendor's mobile voice solution expands text-to-speech functionality as well as BlackBerry support.
Posted May 16, 2009
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Vlingo recently released version 3.0 of its mobile voice solution, offering an expanded text-to-speech (TTS) feature that can read back to the user everything that was spoken into it, and expanded support for a number of BlackBerry smartphones and headsets.

Vlingo already enabled users to send and reply to emails and text messages, search the mobile Web, dial the phone, look up contacts, and launch built-in applications just by using their voices. With Vlingo 3.0, users gain an enhanced TTS read-back feature for hands-free confirmation of what was spoken, the ability to speak action requests such as send, and support for wired and Bluetooth headsets.

Version 3.0 of Vlingo also adds support for the BlackBerry Storm, Bold, Curve 8900, and Pearl smartphones. Additionally, the BlackBerry Storm features a special version of the application that is optimized for its touch screen interface, making for a “truly multimodal” user experience, according to Troy Cross, Vlingo’s head of sales for the Americas and Asia.

Essentially, Version 3.0 “expands the hands-fee, eyes-free aspects of the application,” says Cross, who notes that the key feature of the new version is the ability to execute actionable requests with voice. “No longer do you have to look down at the device and push buttons to do things,” he says. “It’s much more hands-free, eyes-free than ever before.”

Cross also notes that though previous versions of the application featured some TTS read-back functionality, it was expanded in Version 3.0 “to make it more complete. Now, you can have everything you say read back to you. Before, you could only have a limited number of things.”

Another key element of the newer version is enhanced speech performance, with the voice recognition coming in 30 percent faster than before, Cross says.

“The concept that we’re emphasizing with the current version is that the user should be able to pick up the phone, press a button, tell the device what he wants it to do, and then have the device do it,” he says. “Unconstrained mobile speech recognition—we’re certainly moving to continue improvements in that area.”

Vlingo users can simply press the side “convenience” key on their handset, which lets them speak commands into the smartphone. Vlingo 3.0 gives a user's voice the ability to:

  • send and reply to text messages;
  • search the Web;
  • dial the phone;
  • send a note to self;
  • update Facebook and Twitter status;
  • hear a read-back of the full text or email message that was spoken;
  • speak action requests, such as send or search; and
  • launch native and third-party applications.

BlackBerry smartphone users can get additional voice capabilities, including the ability to send and reply to text messages and emails to anyone for a one-time charge of $17.99. Existing users of Vlingo 2.0 can continue to use Vlingo 2.0 at no additional charge. U.S., Canadian, and U.K. users can download Vlingo 3.0 from the BlackBerry App World Web site, (www.blackberry.com/appworld) or from vlingo’s Web site (www.vlingo.com).

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