updated 07:40 pm EDT, Mon April 17, 2006
Speakables for Skype ships
Speakables has released Speakables for Skype, its first product for the high growth VOIP market. The company said that the softwarew was developed by speech recognition experts, including a key developer of Apple's Speech Recognition technology. Speakables for Skype works with popular Skype VOIP service, allowing users to manipulate the service using voice commands. Users create a Skype contact list and can initiate calls by just saying the person's name. Skype users will be able to initiate and answer calls, as well as disconnect ongoing calls remotely by using a simple voice command. Speakables for Skype works with Apple's Speakable Items technology which is already included in the Mac OS X platform. It is available for free for Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
"Speakables for Skype lets consumers Skype their friends without being tethered to their Macs-- you don't even have to be in the same room," says Benjamin Factor, Marketing Manager of Speakables. "The convenience of voice control combined with the coolness factor, particularly among college students who are using computer-based VOIP as their de-facto in-home phone service, is going to be a strong tipping point in driving more wide spread adoption of VOIP."
The Speakables for Skype follows a recent announcement by the company to begin offering the Plantronics CS50-USB wireless headset as part of a complete wireless VOIP solution. Unlike Bluetooth headsets which do not work with Speakable Items (and thus will not permit wireless voice control of the Mac), the CS50-USB works well with Speakable Items and allows consumers to use VOIP (such as Skype and iChat) and voice command while roaming up to 200ft. away from the Mac.
The company says it is introducing Speakables for Skype as a free download to encourage increased adoption of computer-based VOIP and convergence to the Mac/PC as the central hub of entertainment media in the digital home.
"Voice command is the killer app for the digital home. We are extending its use from what was primarily a productivity tool to controlling entertainment oriented computer applications away from the desktop, in relaxed areas of the home like the living room or bedroom," says Factor. "The intention being that in these relaxed areas, it can be more convenient and of course more impressive to use voice command than other input devices."
The Plantronics CS50-USB can be purchased for $300. Consumers who purchase the product via Speakables will receive Speakables for iTunes for free.