London, March 7, 2005 — Today, Microsoft launches the first voice-controlled software specifically designed for Windows Mobile 2003-based Pocket PCs in Europe – Microsoft Voice Command. Voice Command transforms Pocket PCs and Pocket PC Phone Edition devices into virtual interactive personal assistants by enabling effortless, hands-free management of a range of functionalities such as phone, contacts, appointments and Windows Media Player. This application is a cost-effective and convenient way for consumers to get the most out of their connected lifestyle. Through speech commands, which do not need to be pre-recorded, Microsoft Voice Command offers users the following key features:
Voice-controlled hands-free phone. Whether in the car, at the airport or walking down the street, people can enjoy true hands-free phone conversations without ever having to manually dial a number. They can simply say any name from their contacts list. For example, they might say “call David Jones” or “dial 020 71234 5678” in order to use the phone capability of their device.
Caller information announced. Pocket PC Phone Edition users can have incoming call information announced as calls are received. If you think you may have missed a call, you can simply ask “What calls did I miss?” and Voice Command will recite the time and phone number of missed calls.
Voice-controlled calendar look up. Checking appointments has never been easier. Regardless of location, consumers can simply ask their device “What’s my next appointment?” or “What’s my calendar?” and the time, subject and location of each entry will be spoken aloud.
Voice-controlled Windows Media Player. Now voice commands can be used as a virtual remote control to select and play music by artist, album or genre. People don’t need to fumble for CDs anymore; instead they can scroll through and play a long list of songs by voice activation on Windows Media Player already installed on their device. Consumers can simply say “Play music” using Voice Command as their personal disc jockey.
Voice-controlled utilities. Start any program in the Start menu or programs folder, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, the Outlook calendar, contacts, tasks, games or calculator. Get signal strength, battery level, time and day by voice. To help avoid surprises, Voice Command will even alert you when your battery is getting low.
Voice Command uses Microsoft’s own phonetic speech-recognition technology, the result of 10 years of research, to make speech interaction easy to use, intuitive and practical. Most voice-controlled software requires people to pre-record verbal commands, whereas Microsoft Voice Command allows them to use natural, conversational commands to manage device actions with immediate effect. The software is speaker independent, enabling the device to recognize what the user is saying, without any prior training, resulting in effortless, “hands free” communication. This means that the software does not need to “learn” any specific speech traits. It recognizes the name, appointment, music or application command and actions immediately upon installation. This makes Microsoft Voice Command one of the most powerful, simple and effective voice recognition applications on the market today.
Voice Command was previously released in U.S. English with great response from consumers on the ease of use, accuracy, and how it transformed their overall device experience. This version, specifically designed for the United Kingdom, can recognize over 13 national dialects from the counties across the country including, for example, Welsh, Glaswegian and Scottish accents so that anyone in the U.K. can use natural speech to command their device.
“Voice Command provides a significant improvement in speech software that is dramatically changing the way people will forever use their mobile devices,” said Pieter Knook, senior vice president for Mobile and Embedded Devices Division at Microsoft. “The product is a great example of how we’re driving synergies between our platforms and devices business to create more powerful mobile experiences for our customers.”
Voice Command will be sold in the United Kingdom as a separate application for Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs at a suggested retail price of 19.99 (approximately US$38) and can be bought online at www.handango.com .
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