Nuance Lands Another Suite Deal
Nuance Communications today announced that its VSuite of mobile applications will ship with AT&T’s Palm Centro smartphone. This statement comes two days after Nuance inked a multiyear deal with Samsung Electronics to include VSuite and other applications on its mobile phones.
VSuite has shipped on more than 200 million handsets so far and allows users to vocally control their phones using one-stop commands with no training. Commands include name dialing, digit dialing, message addressing, contact lookup, and the ability to launch applications—such as a calendar—by voice.
Analysts believe Nuance is working to build on the success of VoiceSignal, one of Nuance’s major competitors within the embedded speech recognition space until it was acquired by Nuance last May.
"Nuance is pushing to put more voice controls across mobile devices in today's ubiquitious computing era," says Datamonitor senior analyst Daniel Hong. Nuance Mobile vice president and general manager Mike Thompson attributes the swift growth in VSuite to "carrier interest and customer demand."
But Hong claims customer demand is difficult to gauge because many mobile phones are already packaged with embedded speech recognition. "It's no longer a differentiator for mobile phones to have speech recognition capabilities, but it does become an enabler for other applications," he says. "So we should see an uptake in consumer demand for those applications that provide value in a mobile environment, and speech will be one of those enabling technologies of those applications."
For Thompson, the biggest opportunity and area of investment and innovation exist in connecting users to the Internet, which would require a multimodal interface—one that includes voice.
"The interesting expansion point is that not only are command and control of the device important, what’s emerging as a fast-growing trend is connectivity to the mobile Internet to do mobile searches, to do stock quote lookups or fully-automated dictation," Thompson says.