Microsoft’s Tellme Announces “One Button” Voice Access to Mobile Communications and Information

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. —April 29, 2009 –– Today Tellme® Networks Inc., a Microsoft subsidiary and pioneer of voice services, announced the first mobile voice service to combine content and communications, simplifying how people interact with their phones every day. Unlike other voice-based services, Tellme is the first to allow people to press one button, say what they want and get it, whether that is to send a text, make a call or search for information. Tellme has designed a unique version of this experience specifically for Windows® phones due out this fall.

The new service puts many of the most popular phone functions behind a single button. Windows® phone users just press the side button of their phone to do the following:

  • Send a text by saying “text” to open a text box, then speak the text message and say “send” to send it to anyone in their contact list

  • Initiate a call simply by saying “call” and then the name of anyone in their contact list

  • Search the Web with Microsoft Live Search by speaking your request, such as “weather in San Francisco, California,” “pizza in Kansas City,” “movies” or “Mother’s Day gift ideas”

“Because it’s so intuitive, we believe there is a real opportunity for voice to materialize as the leading user interface for the phone,” said Dariusz Packzuski, senior director of consumer services at Tellme. “By bringing voice access to calling, texting and searching, together we reduce ‘menu surfing’ on phones and make the benefits of voice more tangible for everyday needs.”

In a head-to-head comparison, it is clear why people prefer voice over touch. For example, it requires 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. Tellme’s research shows similar results for other tasks, such as making calls, sending text messages and conducting searches for content such as traffic, movies, news and sports.

“For example, Sprint has integrated voice access to the Live Search application on Sprint Instinct phones and subscribers love it,” Packzuski said. “In fact, we’ve seen impressive adoption of voice with three in every four search queries being initiated by voice.”

In a recent study conducted by Sanderson Studios Inc., more than 70 percent of respondents said that voice is superior to keypad or touch-based methods to perform some of the most popular mobile tasks. This includes looking up a business listing or location (78 percent), sending a text message (72 percent), placing a call (79 percent), getting information such as movies, weather, traffic or sports (77 percent), and getting directions (81 percent).

For the past decade, Tellme has been pioneering voice services for businesses and consumers, answering billions of calls every year and helping millions of people get the information they need simply by speaking a request. Now the convenience of voice is coming to Windows® phones, bringing people closer to the things they want by providing easier access to more of the phone’s functionality. With Tellme, people using the latest Windows® phones will be able to simply say what they want, such as “call Mom” or “text Jim” or “pizza,” and results display on the screen.

Tellme will be available for free on Windows Mobile 6.5 phones in fall 2009 when the phones hit store shelves. Initially available in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile store, the service will also be available for free to mobile operators and carriers to embed “on-device” for a voice experience right out of the box.

About Tellme

Tellme ( fundamentally improves how people use the phone with services that allow people to use the power of voice to access the people and information they care about. Tellme makes it possible simply say what you want and get it. Today Tellme powers billions of calls every year and is used by more than 40 million people every month. Located in Mountain View, Calif., Tellme is a Microsoft Corp. subsidiary.

Tellme plays an exciting role in achieving Microsoft’s vision around the limitless potential of voice as a way to find information, connect with people and enhance business processes, any time and from any device.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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