01. 11. 2005
Samsung's speech-to-text and text-to-speech phones
Just last week Samsung announced a speech-to-text phone for the Korean market and somewhat miraculously, the same technology will be available in the US in the next couple of months.
The Samsung SGH-P207 is a tri-band EDGE phone with MPEG4 video recording and voice recognition capabilities that let you text message through dictation. When I talked to some Samsung reps at CES, they told me that like in the Korean models, there would be a version that only worked with canned messages (QuickPhrase) but the SGH-P207 has a dictionary of 50,000 recognizable words. When I asked for a demo, they demurred, telling me that the noise levels in the convention center would make voice recognition impossible. It was of course, a complete circus so this makes sense, but if a little noise renders this useless then I guess I'll be driving with my elbows while I text for a little while longer while they work this out. Kidding, I always try to keep one pinkie on the wheel!
The Samsung ACH-720 does the opposite: it turns text to speech. Again, no demo, but try this one out from AT&T Labs Research to get a feel for the type of messages you might be sending out when you use something like this: TTS Multi-Lingual Demo. Audrey, the female voice from the UK sounds almost human, but the others are pretty funny. And yes I just spent half an hour having this thing say lewd things to me in a variety of accents. Very fun.
Both phones are due out on the Cingular network in early '05. Samsung holds the patents so this type of technology won't be available anywhere else for at least the next year.