In the Wim Wenders film a la “Bis ans Ende der Welt” a man talks into his handheld computer and it notes what he says, even as he goes off topic as he reacts to the events around him. Its something I’ve wanted to be able to do ever since the film came out in 1991 (that’s do the voice thing, not go off topic – I’m quite capable of that already).With this in mind, I’ve just done my once-yearly trawl around the world wide morass to see whether anybody had yet cracked the speech-to-text idea on a “standard” PDA. A few years ago they claimed that processors were to slow, but as I now have a Dell Axim that has a faster processor than my very own Sony Voicepad, I remain forever hopeful. Perhaps its still a little premature, however. There seem to be a number of vendors selling command-and-control packages, notably Microsoft, Speereo and HandHeldSpeech but that’s really not what I’m looking for. VoiceSignal comes closest, with a voice-to-SMS program called VoiceMode; not sure it’s out yet, or if it is it’s only on specific devices. One possibility I was toying with was to install Linux on the Axim, then ViaVoice for Linux and see how that ran. It has been reported that IBM no longer supports ViaVoice, but it appears that it still does within its developer kit, so maybe that’s a possibility. I downloaded the SDK but I didn’t meet the pre-requisite requirements (to buy WebSphere!).Perhaps I should wait for Oqo pricing to fall, or for Origami to hit the mainstream and become pocketable (have you seen the size of those things?). For now, however, mainstream use of handheld voice remains out of reach. Pity.
Update: should have mentioned Research Lab, who sell a speech recognition SDK for Windows CE and its derivatives.