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Openstream implores you: Talk to your mobile browser

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Feel a pressing need to shout at your phone even when no one's listening? Openstream's Cue-me browser, launched yesterday, implements the latest draft of the W3C Multimodal Interaction Activity, allowing you to do just that.

The browser runs on Windows Mobile, Symbian and BlackBerry devices, with the inevitable iPhone version promised real soon now, and the company provides a useful Flash presentation showing how much better web browsing is when used in a multimodal fashion.

Multimodal interaction, where voice supplements key presses, has been around for a long time. Companies such as Voice Signal have demonstrated impressive recognition of commands and control on low-end handsets. Openstream's product conforms to the latest W3C standard that's intended to make web browsing an audio experience, but beyond voice-dialling in the car punters have proved remarkably reluctant to talk to their mobile phones.

The same thing applies to the desktop, where multimodel interaction with Microsoft Office works very well - style commands can be spoken without breaking the typing flow, but even those with their own office find the experience too strange, and it's hard to imagine we're all going to start talking to our mobile phones any time soon.

Of course the first people using headsets looked like nutters, so it's not beyond imagination, but in many ways this looks like a technology solution searching for a problem. ®

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