Nuance Communications just released the beta version of their Dragon Mobile Assistant software for Android.
Dragon is the name of a line of speech recognition software products that can do things like make calls, keep your calendar and send texts just by giving your phone a command. The English version of the app is available on Google Play for free right now. It works on the Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 OS or later.
Nuance dominates the market for speech recognition. They’ve been working with Apple on their voice control technology, the most famous being Siri (available on iPhone 4S and iPhone 5.)
Here’s how the voice recognition software works on your phone.
Start the app with the greeting, “Hi Dragon”, and then give it a command like:
“Tell Lori, ‘I’ll come find her when I get to the restaurant.” or
“Schedule a meeting for 2 p.m. tomorrow.” or
“Give me directions to the Statue of Liberty” or
“What’s the weather in Chicago?”
As long as Dragon can interpret what you said, you’ll get an answer.
Nuance’s press release says it’s plan is to expand availability and debut new features by year end. “We’re at a transition point where voice and natural-language understanding are suddenly at the forefront,” said Vlad Sejnoha, chief technology officer at Nuance Communications. “I think speech recognition is really going to upend the current [computer] interface.”
If you’ve ever tried to call about a complaint or order a prescription over the phone, you’ve experienced Nuance’s voice technology. It’s been used in places like calls centers for awhile.
Now the rapid rise of powerful mobile devices is spreading the use of voice interfaces. One reason for the stunning advancements in voice recognition technology is that smartphones have so much processing capability. They can access high-bandwidth data connections that exist on massive servers in the cloud. The combination of more data and more computing power means sophisticated programs like voice recognition will fit into smartphones.
Apple’s Siri was the first to bring voice-recognition technology to mobile devices, and (finally!) Nuance has now brought Android a little closer to having its own voice functionality. Others like the Windows Phone platform, other mobile systems, and a lot of apps won’t be far behind. The interfaces still have to be refined, but the good news is that the capability of talking to our devices is already built in to the hardware.
Nuance doesn’t plan on stopping at cellphones. Inspired by their success, the company is working on putting speech interfaces in many more places like televisions and vehicles.