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3/26/2008
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Palm Adds Voice Commands For Smartphone Messaging, Browsing

Application software from Nuance offers hands-free access to mobile applications and content.

Palm is adding new hands-free capabilities to its smartphones as a result of an agreement with Nuance Communications.

Palm will use VSuite applications from Nuance for to hands-free, one-step access to mobile applications and content. VSuite's speech-based user interface will be included on the Palm Centro from AT&T, and on the Treo 755p from Verizon Wireless. VSuite is also supported on all Palm OS-based Treo smartphones, Nuance said Wednesday.

VSuite works with simple one-step commands that Nuance said requires no training. Sample voice commands include name dialing from any name on a phone's contact list; digit-dialing a phone number ("Call 7815550000"); or message addressing for text, picture, and video messages ("Send text to John Smith mobile"). Voice prompts can also be used to look up contacts as well as open any application or menu on the phone, Nuance said.

There're more laws and pending legislation that limits the use of mobile phones while driving, creating a greater need for hands-free, eyes-free access to features on smartphone handsets, according to the two vendors. "We're committed to offering hands-free solutions for a safe user experience, especially while driving," said Phil McClendon, product line manager for consumer smartphones for Palm, in a statement. "By continuing to work with Nuance to equip our devices with the latest speech technology capabilities, we've been able to enhance the accessibility and utility of our devices for users on the go."

In addition, Nuance also offers Voice Control, a subscription-based service for Palm users to connect to the mobile Web with voice commands. The service also allows users to dictate and send e-mail or text messages, create calendar entries, or do Web searches.

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