Another Killer App for Smartphones

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One of my favorite tech reviewers -- David Pogue of The New York Times -- has just reviewed a remarkable voice recognition application for the iPhone. Dragon Dictation is a free app for Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) wildly popular device that immediately transcribes whatever you say into the phone's speaker. You can then drop the text into an email, text message, word processor, etc.

Pogue loves the app from Nuance (Nasdaq: NUAN  ) , and so do I. It's pretty accurate, and any goofed-up words can easily be corrected. Sure, it can and will get better, but this represents the best of what these phones are capable of: amazing technology that was unthinkable just a few years ago. And did I mention it's free (for the time being)? Yet, there are over 1,000 one-star reviews in the app store! Is it because of Dragon Dictation's performance? No, says Pogue:

Instead, people are freaked out by that "your audio is converted by Nuance's servers" part. They think this is a privacy violation. They fear that someone at Nuance might listen in to the audio. (Nuance says nope, it's just a bunch of computers, maintained in a secure facility, and the audio and transcriptions are not saved.)

I'm not at all worried about where my words might wind up, any more than I would be with a text message, email, or voice call. Instead, I suspect this is one more "killer app" that will spread across platforms and fuel smartphone sales for Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) , Motorola (NYSE: MOT  ) , Palm (Nasdaq: PALM  ) , any device that runs Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android operating system, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Windows Mobile, etc.

This final paragraph is a direct copy and paste from dragon dictation. Will apps like this make you more likely to buy a smartphone? Let us know in the comments box below!

Rex Moore loves living in the Jetsons age. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Nuance Communications is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. Motley Fool Options recommended a diagonal call strategy on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (14)

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  • Report this Comment On December 14, 2009, at 1:19 PM, tallguy425 wrote:

    If you think that's a great app, check out Jibbigo. It will translate English to Spanish and Spanish to English just by speaking into the microphone of the phone.

  • Report this Comment On December 14, 2009, at 1:33 PM, Fool wrote:

    To bad it is US only:(

  • Report this Comment On December 14, 2009, at 1:59 PM, daveshouston wrote:

    I tried reading this short paragraph into Dragon's App.

    This is the source text:

    The stock market recently trimmed a portion of its losses, but has since turned lower again as sellers redouble their efforts. Though the broader market remains mired in weakness, airline stocks have managed to limit their losses.

    This is the same paragraph showing how Dragon transcribed my voice note into text:

    The stock market recently trimmed a portion of its lawsuit I'm a little system for dinner so we were double murder for curry on the broader market remains mired in weakness, their lunch boxes managed to limit the loss.

    Some test results have been excellent and some just terrible. I'm trying to talk very clearly. Looks like a work in process at this point. It would be a lot more useful if they would also save the audio clip and send that via email along with the recognized text.

    Incidentally, this App is iPhone only (not for iPod Touch)

  • Report this Comment On December 14, 2009, at 5:39 PM, pstrisold wrote:

    I tried the same paragraph and it transcribed without a single error! Too bad we can't do voice training as with the desktop version of this program.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2009, at 9:31 AM, treeman102 wrote:

    Well fellows, I guess most of you have bought in on the idea that the cell phone, I-Pod and the like can replace the land line. All you are holding in your hand is a sofisticated walkie-talkie that still depends on a radio signal to receive and transmit. So, the proformance of your Dragon app. is going to be dependant on the quality of your signal.

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