I’ve been waiting for portable music player with voice navigation since before the display-less iPod shuffle came out. What’s taking so damn long?
The latest full sized iPods have got to have about as much CPU power and RAM as the Pentium PC that was able to do a decent job running freetext dictation software 8 or 9 years ago. I’m sure they are faster than the circa 1991 AV macs that had a workable voice driven interface for the menus and dialog boxes.
What’s more, the vocabulary of words and phrases is known since it’s limited to the artists, songs and album titles on your music player plus a handfull of commands, which would allow a lot of preprocessing to be performed on the PC you use to load the music on the player.
Voice recognition has been slow to take off on PCs because the alternatives (keyboards & mice) are generally faster and more accurate. I don’t think you can make the same argument for portable media players.
The iPod has a great UI, but it can take a long time to find a specific song or artist amongst all the options, and I only have a puny 10GB model. Furthermore, it can be easy to overshoot a given menu selection on the first try. What’s more, the voice recognition doesn’t have to be perfect. I’d be happy if speaking a song, album or artist name gave me ~5 possibilities to choose from, just as long as one of them was the item I was looking for. Done right, this would make it much easier to build on the go playlists (something I never do) and just generally use something other than shuffle mode.
So, what’s the deal? Why can’t I have what I want?