New Technology allows for Hands-Free, Voice Recognition Texting

Dennis Faas's picture

With strict hands-free mobile phone laws affecting people in cities across North America, in-car services such as Onstar are seemingly the only way a person can make a legal phone call while driving. But what if you need to send an important email reply or text message while on the go? For Blackberry users on a Sprint plan, hands-free emails and texting is now a reality.

These subscribers have the opportunity to install a speech-to-text mobile application that will enable them to dictate text-based messages without having to take their hands off the steering wheel.

The technology that allows speech to be instantly and accurately converted into text has eluded companies involved in unified communications for many years. The company that has seemingly "cracked the code" is one that users are all-too-familiar with: Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft Builds Talk-To-Text App

Microsoft built the Talk-to-Text app for Sprint Blackberry users from technology provided from the small startup Yap. The formal unveiling was done at the CTIA 2010 show in Las Vegas.

In a statement, Vic Bondi, senior director for sales and channels engineering at MSN announced that "We are pleased to work with Yap to provide a useful and engaging mobile service to consumers." (Source:

Yap also provided a statement, but spoke more of the mechanics behind the revolutionary technology than anything else. According to the small startup, the speech-to-text technology provides a fully-automated speech recognition tool that can be integrated into custom applications using simple XML Web services.

Interestingly enough, Yap also said that the technology incorporated into Talk-and-Text was done using "only a few lines of code." (Source:

Different than PC Talk-to-Text

While a number of speech-to-text tools are currently in existence for PCs (such as Nuance Communications' Dragon Naturally Speaking) the technology takes on a whole different meaning when dealing with the mobile market.

For mobile companies, the Yap technology is a giant step in the right direction when reducing driving hazards while texting. The benefits also include saving time as a result of speaking, and not typing.

While the app is currently available to Sprint Blackberry users exclusively, there is a general belief that, if successful, Microsoft will look to partner with other providers to extend the availability of the service.

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