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Android gets talk-tastic Froyo upgrade

Speak slow-ly and clear-ly to your hand-set

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Android users lucky enough to get a Froyo upgrade have been busy talking to their telephones, as Google adds voice commands to its platform.

Users downloading the latest update to Android, version 2.2 codenamed Froyo (following Google's alphabetically-ordered-snacks naming system), are finding that if they're all alone then they can always speak to their phones.

Android has sported search by voice for a while now. Just tap the screen and say something, your handset will spend a moment thinking and then perform an internet search for something that sounds similar, which might even be the thing you were looking for.

Google's Navigate application (free download from the Marketplace) already added "Navigate" to the list of commands to which Voice Search would respond. Froyo users are pulling ahead - they can add "call", "email" and "note" to the list of recognised requests, with the latter two accepting, and transcribing, spoken text as shown in this video from the ever-active chaps over at Gizmodo:

It might be hard to imagine people walking around talking to their telephones, but it's worth remembering that a decade or so ago it was hard to imagine people walking around talking on their telephones. Apple certainly thinks voice interaction has a future, as evidenced by Cupertino's purchase of Siri in April.

There are times when it's easier to speak than use a keyboard, but it will take a lot to overcome our memories of early Windows Mobile users walking round repeatedly chanting "WHEN is my NEXT appointment" in a variety of comedy accents. ®

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