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Monday, 2 February 2009

Zumba - the totally voice-controlled mobile phone

voice-controlled mobile phoneAnyone who’s been following our iPhone Killers series will know there’s an ever-increasing number of slick interfaces out there, designed to give a rich, visual experience to your mobile phone. Well, how about a phone that forgets about a slick visual interface altogether, and has you do everything with your voice (which, even I have to admit, is potentially cooler even than that charging puck thing you can get for the Palm Pre)?

That’s the idea behind the new Zumba, from IA Technology, a phone so top secret that when the BBC did a report about it, they couldn’t show it working, or discuss how it worked, and apparently, they could only show a dummy…

It should be noted that many bloggers, myself included, translate “so secret we can’t show you it working” and “too top secret to say how it works” as “it doesn’t work”…

Crashing on… I will say this: if its new, completely reliable and sophisticated voice recognition system is as good as they say, it could be pretty cool. The phone works by pulling the back of it off, and finding that the back is actually an earpiece. Slot that on, and the phone connects you to the Zumba Lumba web portal, where all your details, and contacts, and suchlike, are stored. Then, you can call anyone in your phonebook just by speaking their name, and presumably speak a number to the phone, and tell it to dial. That, though, is basically just voice dialling. That ain’t full voice control.

Ok, then, how about if it reads your texts back to you? And in order to compose a text, you just say your message into the earpiece, and the phone writes the text for you. That’s quite clever, that. And just to show it not at all in action, here’s the video report from the BBC.

No idea if it’s really going to work or not, since they won’t show us, but hey, if anyone’s gonna do it, it’s a company who appears to be (since they make ejector seats and protection systems) Q-Branch out the Bond films.

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