VOICE-OPTIMISED SOFTWARE stops me dead in my tracks. I'm finding more and more of Google's shadow in the handheld voice space whenever I look at free voice-activated offerings for my SonyEricsson Xperia X10 phone (shown with some battle scars at left). Dan York's reports from places like the Mobile Voice conference gives me an appreciation of Google's impact on the speech industry. Google's speech offerings feature strongly in the Android Market. Google clearly has the attention of all the speech vendors and many text-to-speech developers whose work I've followed during the past six years. Tim O'Reilly wrote about the emerging Internet Operating System, capturing the growing importance of networked applications that rely on massive amounts of data, some accessed by telling your phone what to do. For a relatively low cost of entry, we're now equipping college students with the ability to talk to their phones and to get results. In my case, I'm watching a legally blind student use spoken content on the Xperia X10 when studying for his final exams. Next year, he'll use voice controls to find information related to his course work and his phone will read back the relevant information. His Android phone will be a centrepiece of his academic success. This is really exciting stuff for me.
Disclosure: SonyEricsson gave me an X10 to dropkick and use for creative multimedia development at Tipperary Institute. Punters have to pay €359 to O2-Ireland to get this same piece of kit.