AT&T, Vlingo Team For Voice Apps

Under the deal, Vlingo will use AT&T's speech-recognition technology in its suite of apps for the iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Symbian.

Marin Perez, Contributor

September 16, 2009

2 Min Read

AT&T said Wednesday it will be teaming with Vlingo to spread its speech-recognition technology to a broad variety of mobile devices.

Under the terms of the deal, Vlingo will license AT&T's Watson speech-recognition technology and incorporate it into its speech-enabled applications. The Watson technology also includes a set of tools that can be used by developers to create custom apps that can be adapted for various languages and acoustic situations.

Vlingo will use this technology in its various speech-driving apps that enable users to send text messages and e-mails, make calls, record to-do list, browse the Web, and interact with social networks like Twitter and Facebook. The apps are currently available for the iPhone, BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile smartphones. As part of the deal, AT&T will take a minority equity stake in Vlingo.

"Natural and unconstrained voice recognition user interfaces represent the next major breakthrough for the mobile industry as well as many other industries," said Dave Grannan, president and CEO of Vlingo, in a statement. "Based on our evaluation, we have seen significant accuracy and performances gains with Watson compared to other core speech technologies that will allow us to create a dramatically improved user experience."

Speech recognition has come a long way in the mobile space, and multiple companies are looking to use the technology to cut costs and to make handsets more attractive. T-Mobile is using Nuance's voice-recognition software for a Mobile Care application, which assists customers with diagnostic problems, billing, and other issues. Additionally, Apple is promoting the voice-dialing capabilities of the iPhone 3GS as a selling point in its latest batch of commercials.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on the use of business software on smartphones. Download the report here (registration required).

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