Voice Apps Gaining Voice in Mobile Devices

If any concerns remain about the lack of speech solutions in mobile devices, perhaps they were quelled somewhat by the release today of the initial usage statistics of the Nuance Voice Control application preloaded on the Palm Treo 775p smartphone.  

Based on Nuance estimates, in the immediate weeks following the Treo 755p’s initial release, 17 percent of Treo 755p buyers used Nuance Voice Control, a one-click mobile search and messaging application completely controlled by natural voice commands. According to Nuance, this surpasses the industry average for preloaded mobile applications.

Nuance Voice Control subscribers made an average of 10 to 14 voice requests per week—approximately 48 requests per month. Most of these voice-activated interactions included voice dialing (44 percent of usage), SMS and email dictation (25 percent), and Web search for locating businesses, stock quotes, or Web navigation (22 percent). Additionally, the Web search feature in particular could prove to be particularly valuable to mobile operators due to the gaining popularity of ad-supported apps. In all, Nuance attributed the success of its feature to the application’s ease of use and the desire for consumers to complete tasks quicker and with less effort.

"Adding Nuance Voice Control as a preloaded application on the Treo 755p provides value-add to users by way of simplifying voice-based access to the phone’s advanced functionality," said Michael Thompson, Nuance’s vice president and general manager, in a press release. "Our initial usage statistics imply a stickiness level nearly unmatched by mobile applications across all consumer categories."

To stay competitive, manufacturers increasingly include value-added incentives into their products. And speech apps in mobile devices are particularly pragmatic, especially given the current climate of on-the-go enterprise mobility that requires increased multitasking.  In this sense, Nuance’s success with its voice application could be seen as the start of a hopeful trend within speech technology vendors.    

"We do expect greater roll-outs of preloaded voice apps in mobile devices as companies strive to improve the user interface for both simple command and control functions and multimedia application navigation," says Datamonitor senior analyst Daniel Hong.

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