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Talking to a PDA

Boot Camp feature for Tuesday, November 6, 2001

Talking to a PDA. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. At the IBM Research labs... .Dr. David Nahamoo calls it a conversational PDA... a Palm handheld that lets you enter and retrieve information from it... with your voice...

"So we looked at it and there were four applications. The main four applications were address book, memo pad, to do list and I guess the fourth one being date book. And we said what can we do to make these things conversational and be able to interact with them and so let me just show you a few of those."

Instead of tapping on the screen, Dr. Nahamoo... simply tells the handheld...

Address book... .memo pad... so I can navigate between these applications.

But the real challenge has been to make it easier to enter memos and appointments... by voice...

"Datebook... three p.m... .so as you notice that the three p.m. was highlighted... meeting... I would like together with my boss to discuss the fall plan."

The prototype PDA captures the entry as a soundfile... .but when the device is docked with a PC... IBM's ViaVoice software translates it to text ... and enters the appointment in the datebook. Information can be retrieved by voice as well...

"Three p.m... . three p.m., go to a meeting."

How soon will consumers be able to get their hands on this? Compaq has licensed the system for its new PocketPC 2002 3800 series. So if you're frustrated using that little plastic stylus with your PDA... help is on the way. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.