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Listening to the Web...iSpeak

Techstination feature for Monday, November 19, 2001

Listening to the Web. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Text to speech technology has been around for years... .and it's showing up in more and more computing devices and services. A company called Fonix thinks consumers are ready to listen too... through a software package called iSpeak... .

"This is a product that's been specifically designed to assist the consumer in getting to know, to understand, to be educated and have the ability to demonstrate the power of text to speech and what can happen when you actually take any text, anywhere, and audible-ize it... whether it's on the Web, from an email or inside of a document."

Fonix VP Kirk Feller. Among the useful applications for the technology... it can save text files as portable MP3s to let you listen to Web, email or other content... on portable players... (sound) And it can be fun and educational for kids...

"I have a daughter who is three years old who can use the product... just typing on the keyboard and to be able to learn her letters. I have a son who is eight years old who can actually type in a word... say, for example, receive... into the product. And if it is not spelled correctly it will pronounce it as recev."

For the most part... this kind of software is still a novelty. Where iSpeak stands out is in its ability to correctly pronounce the text from a printed page... abbreviations and all. It sells for under 70 dollars. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.