Smartphone users want voice control


29 Jul 2009

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Instead of buttons or touchscreen, smartphone users say that it would be more appealing to use voice control to carry out tasks on their handset while busy or on the go.

According to a new study released today and carried out by Microsoft subsidiary Sanderson Studios for Tellme Networks Inc, 75pc of people would pick a smartphone that lets them write a text message, surf the web or ring friends by speaking instead of using the touch screen interface or handset keypad.

This is a simple fact of wanting quick and easy access to your smartphone’s functionality – have you ever texted while walking or typing in a website address while juggling groceries?

"If you’ve ever tried typing or touching on your smartphone while walking down the street or paying at the checkout line, you know how distracting it can be," said Anne Truscott, brand strategist at Sanderson Studios.

"But using your voice while walking or checking out is like walking and chewing gum at the same time; it just comes naturally.

"And we were surprised how many people said they’d feel comfortable using their voices to interact with their smartphones while in public places as well," she added.

So there is another interesting fact arising from the study: mobile phone ettiquette is slowly changing as people are becoming increasingly comfortable with the idea of speaking into their phone to carry out tasks while in public.

In fact 71pc of respondents felt okay with the idea of using voice control while in a restaurant while 93pc liked the idea of doing this while walking and 92pc while exercising.

Also interesting is that 87pc of respondents were comfortable with using voice while shopping or running errands. I can just imagine someone standing in the shopping aisles shouting ‘milk; check, bread; check, toilet paper; check’ as they make their way through their shopping list.

Unsurprisingly the biggest reason for choosing voice control over buttons or touch was for hands-free in-car use. Another study by Sanderson found that 90pc of people who spend one hour or more per day in their car would use voice to check mail, make calls and so on.

"The research is confirming what we believed would happen as people more widely use smartphones to multi-task while on the go, away from the home or office," said Dariusz Paczuski, senior director of Tellme Mobile Speech at Microsoft.