A Quick Take on Speech in the iPhone

Though the lack of a voice interface embedded in iPhone was a big disappointment within the speech technology industry, some vendors have released applications independent of Apple’s involvement. Quicktate.com, a Web-based service that uses speech-to-text technology to transcribe voicemails on PDAs or smart phones, was one such vendor.

The company announced today at Macworld in San Francisco the beta release of a speech-to-text service that lets users read voicemail messages on their iPhones. "We launched it at the Consumer Electronic Show [in Las Vegas] last week," says Quicktake CEO Lee Dorfman, "and the feedback has been tremendous."

Quicktake, a spin-off of telephone and Web dictation provider iDictate.com, was originally developed for the iPhone, though it functions on any phone that accommodates email or text. To subscribe to the service, users sign up at the Web site and follow the instructions from there. After signing up, users are assigned a Quicktake number. When callers leave a message at that number, a transcript of the call is sent to either the Quicktake users’s cell phone or email inbox, depending on his preferences.  

In addition to transcribing voice messages, users may also dial into their Quicktake numbers and dictate messages, which the STT engine then transcribes.

The program is free while in beta, but Dorfman anticipates establishing a pricing system based on either a subscription or a per-word model following the program's wider release.

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