Voice is the next leap for smartphones

Kevin Marshall started off an interesting conversation thread about what he thinks about mobile, which I responded to here.

To me, the fundamental behavior around mobile – of using it as a consumption device than a production device has been because of it’s limitations. We don’t open our hackpads or word documents on a mobile phone and work on the go. It’s not easy and it’s hugely distracting that you are a walking nightmare in a public space.

The most interesting thing after Siri and Google Now, is the two-worded call out “Okay, Glass!”. It’s a sign of exciting things to come.

As mobile devices take different shapes, the primary user interface becomes voice. It’s a given, that voice as an input mechanism will make rapid strides within the next couple of years. There are very positive ramifications of this, in every which way you see.

– With a few voice commands, I can open a document, edit it and send it to a colleague – all without taking the phone out of my pocket. In fact, I probably don’t need a phone till I need to see something! That’s a leap of productivity and I hope that means, answering a few emails on the go, so that when I reach home, I don’t switch on the laptop!

– I would expect new collaboration tools to emerge to augment or even replace emails in some cases. I’d call it ‘Voice Texts’. I’d assume that emerging markets would make this habit a mainstream. In very tropical & densely populated markets, typing on the go is difficult. Voice interpreted text or Voice Text shall be cost effective, fast and easily accessible for the mobile workforce (or can make a hitherto ‘chained to the workstation’ workforce, very mobile)

– I’m not sure though if voice interpretation takes a toll on battery life, when used for a prolonged period. But I’d hope that there is already work that’s ongoing that would lead to solutions in the market, when voice matures as a viable interaction mechanism. I’d assume though, that the voice doesn’t travel on the carrier network here. So a reduced quality, just good enough for interpretation would suffice. May be someone here could point out to trends in this area.

– With voice and NLP capabilities, the phone is about to get more serious users who were left out earlier (older generation). Vernacular language capabilities would be a non-lucrative option & commercial grade services would take time to emerge.

I am sure there are other angles to explore – What would voice mean for the mobile gaming industry where an added sensory input is like a new dope? Would it herald a leap in efficiency for any swift response use cases like trading, location services etc?

What’s your take?

Image Credits - Humanrobo | WikiMedia
  • My issue is that Siri only works for me about half the time so it’s not a productivity tool if it ‘s a consistent point of aggravation . Voice recognition is still a fantasy being marketed as if it is a seamless way to operate. This simply has not been true in my experience.