Microsoft boasts voice control for future of Windows Phone 7; Kinect gestures coming?

It's not really news when Microsoft says they think their technology can take on or beat Android or the iPhone--it's the same PR spin you'd expect from any company that is about to enter some heavy competition. So it's a bit odd that this story is getting so much clout, but he were go...

Microsoft bought TellMe a few years ago (2007), it first showed up on the Samsung Intrepid and will now finally get robust integration with Windows Phone 7, as was recently demonstrated here in video.

Overall it's quite nice, but dare we say in its current form, hardly revolutionary.  In fact, Android's voice control is leaps and bounds beyond what WP7 will be able to do when finally launched e.g. 'Edwin' is pretty ridiculous (see a YouTube demonstration and witness the power of this completely free app). 'Edwin' is so far ahead right now, we're not sure how TellMe is going to catch up, but hey, we're all for a good race.

Recently, TellMe and Windows Phone 7 were demoed and discussed at the SpeechTEK conference. There, MS boasted how TellMe is the largest speech-based natural language processing system in use today. But really, the big news is that Microsoft is planning to really leverage TellMe in Windows Phone 7, expanding its capabilities significantly...over time. For at launch, it will only do some basic things (dial contacts, launch apps and search Bing), but it will go "global" on the phone in the future, allowing widespread control of just about everything.

It's nice to see Microsoft taking voice-control seriously--after all, they did buy a whole company for the tech.

Finally, the last bit of juicy info was talking about Xbox and Kinect, which you can interpret how you want (to us, it sounds like these ideas, remember that rumor?):

"Speech is the core of NUI," he said. Part of the demonstration showed how Microsoft's Kinnect XBox technology could interpret hand gestures to trigger actions on the computer. This technology will be used in Microsoft products beyond the XBox, Bukshteyn said in a subsequent interview with IDG.

Let's hope it means what we think it means.

[via PCWorld]

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • I like TellMe, even in it's current iteration. I use it to send texts when I need my hands on the wheel.
  • That's a cool feature on the Intrepid for sure (Android does it too), but I'm not sure that ability is built in yet for Windows Phone least there has been zero mention of it. I'm sure it'll eventually be incorporated, but not for a little while it seems.
  • I think there is still a good chunk of WP7 news/info under NDA that no one can talk about. I expect there could be more already in there (maybe not in this preview build that devs have), that we'll see when it finally RTMs.
  • So why would anyone buy a WP 7 phone? They are about a year behind the trend line and their software upgrade policy is nonexistant. I bought an Omnia and couldn't even upgrade to 6.5! Fool me once.....
  • As of WP7, all updates will be straight to the consumers from MS. Thanks to them locking down the UI and placing the high minimum spec for the phones, all phones will be able to upgrade to the newest version the day the upgrade is released.
  • I just want to know if you will be able to access this in the API and use it for your own programs. To help navigate list.
  • Yes but can you operate 'Edwin' or 'Tell Me' for example totally via a Bluetooth headset and get vocal feedback from it. So your phone could be in your bag but you still have full control of it - like the ancient Microsoft Voice Command which I still use on my Touch Pro 2.
  • IIRC, Froyo is bringing voice control over Bluetooth. I do miss the simplicity of Voice Command though. not having to contact a server for every voice command makes it much faster. I wish for local voice commands you could opt to use the on-device recognition and for searches which require the web it would leverage three TellMe service.