Windows Phone 7’s Speech Interface Preview

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You’ve probably already seen a few video’s of the latest Windows Phone 7 emulator that was released a few days ago. You might not have noticed the speech interface though since it can only be activated by the secret press-and-hold of the Start menu button. We imagine that the speech interface would also usable via a Bluetooth headset voice dialing button.

UPDATE: Microsoft has asked us to remove the video as they will be revealing and announcing the voice recognition features at a later time.

The emulator version is still a bit buggy (sometimes it doesn’t seem to attach to my PC’s microphone), and it’s unclear as to exactly what types of voice commands the interface will support, but it’s looking very good. You’ll definitely be able to dial contacts, open programs, and run Bing searches from the speech UI, but I don’t see any options for controlling the music player, asking about upcoming appointments, reading incoming messages aloud, or announcing caller ID names like Microsoft Voice Command could do 7 years ago. Nor do I see any of the cool TellMe speech features like the ability to send text messages transcribed from your voice.

Searching Bing works okay, but it only returns a visual listing of search results and that’s where the speech interface fails because now you have to look at your phone, read the screen, and then user your finger to interact with it. It SHOULD read the results to you and listen for subsequent commands like “Navigate to location” or “Select first result and read”… you know, things you should be able to do from a hands-free speech interface.

Is making calls, opening applications, and searching Bing good enough for you in terms of a hands-free speech interface or are you thirsty for more?

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About The Author
Adam Z. Lein
Adam has had interests in combining technology with art since his first use of a Koala pad on an Apple computer. He currently has a day job as a graphic designer, photographer, systems administrator and web developer at a small design firm in Westchester, NY. His love of technology extends to software development companies who have often implemented his ideas for usability and feature enhancements. Mobile computing has become a necessity for Adam since his first Uniden UniPro PC100 in 1998. He has been reviewing and writing about smartphones for Pocketnow.com since they first appeared on the market in 2002.Read more about Adam Lein!