Voice Takes Center Stage on Wireless Phones

New services promise to deliver Web information for spoken requests.


Imagine this: Voice is getting more important on phones. Seems like news of the obvious, but vocalizing is getting interesting twists at a show for wireless services in Las Vegas.

Yahoo announced an upgrade to its mobile search, including spoken queries. Users download software to their phones and can simply voice their questions, although the service so far works only with a few BlackBerry devices.

Or read your request through almost any wireless handset to a new service from an outfit called ChaCha. You have to dial ChaCha's free service at 1-800-2-CHACHA, but it promises to answer just about any question in a conversational manner. Anything, according to the ChaCha folks, that can be answered with a Web search and sent back as a text message.

And AT&T launched its cellphone navigation service, which is the first on a mobile phone that works with voice commands. Press a button, speak an address, and get directions read back to you.


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