speech to text

Copy This is a handy Windows Phone 8 app that allows you to copy speech-to-text directly to your Windows Phone clipboard. Play This was updated to version 2.0.3 to work with the new speech APIs in Windows Phone 8.1.

This will allow you to press and hold the search button, say "Copy this…" and whatever you want copied and Cortana will add it to your Windows Phone clipboard.

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Well it’s not Siri obviously, but Copy This offers a very interesting speech-to-text functionality for Windows Phone 8 devices. It’s been in the Store since a while, but we recently discovered it or found a mention somewhere.

The app allows you to quickly speak text directly to the clipboard on your phone. You can launch the app from anywhere on your phone with your voice. Once the app is launched, you can say any text you want and your words will be copied to the clipboard. 

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Windows Phone 8 brings numerous enhancements to the TellMe service aka the speech engine behind Windows Phone. One area that has improved is voice dictation for email messages (as opposed to just text) and developers can also now incorporate STT/TTS into their apps directly, which is especially useful for things like Twitter or blogging apps.

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Windows Phone 8 OneNote Mobile

 

Windows Phone 8 OneNote has now been released from the Office hub and is now its own app. With that comes some neat advantages such a quicker, more direct access to your notebooks, bypassing the need to go into Office first to find your notes.

OneNote for Windows Phone 8 is now uses a live tile to show you which note was updated last, at a glance information to help you get things done quicker.

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In what should be a very exciting addition for developers, Windows Phone 8 will finally give access to Voice Command (aka TellMe).

According to the leaked Windows Phone 8 SDK, developers can add functions to their app that uses the Voice Command feature, enabling customers to launch the app with a sub-query which will take them to a specific area of the app:

"Users can use voice commands to both launch your app and execute an action. For example, a user using the Contoso Widgets app could press the Start button and say "Contoso Widgets, show best sellers" to both launch the Contoso Widgets app and navigate to a 'best sellers' page, or some other action that the developer specifies."

(An example of this would be Jay Bennett adding a feature to our WPCentral app whereby you hold the Start button to access Voice Command (TellMe) and say “WPCentral, go to reviews”).

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Ask Ziggy update now live on the Marketplace

We recently covered a neat little Windows Phone app that rivals Apple's Siri. Ask Ziggy is a completely free (ad-free too) speech recognition app, which goes one step further than Windows Phone itself. Mathematical questions, commands (posting to Twitter, Facebook, calling a contact, etc.), general questions are just a few tasks that can be completed. While the app was already available (and has been since mid-December) a recent update has been pushed through that brings a few fixes an a UI refresh.

There are a number of features that the developer has planned for the future, including expanded speech grammar, multi-language support and language translations. Should you be continuously finding yourself having to watch a Siri demonstration, now you can fight back with this little beauty. You can download Ask Ziggy from the Marketplace for free. Be sure to keep an eye on the official website for more information.

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If there was an over-hyped technology in late 2011 it was perhaps Apple's Siritheir voice recognition/information application for the iPhone 4s. Now we'll admit that Siri is quite a strong piece of tech one that we wish Windows Phone had built-in in addition to our Bing Voice service, but the marketing machine behind Siri was a tad overwhelming. Then again, there's no denying facts: Bing Voice while pragmatic for certain tasks is still behind Apple's Siri in some ways.

However, developer Shai Leib has given us Windows Phone users an option: Ask Ziggy. The new app is a free, ad-free and as far as we can tell, completely unique. We spoke with Leib about his project and how it works:

"Ask Ziggy uses Speech Recognition to translate human speech into transcribed text, which is displayed in a speech bubble. The transcribed text is analyzed for patterns to detect commands or general queries. Commands are interpreted and routed to routine phone tasks such as emailing, texting, calling, social network updates, and getting directions.

When a general question is asked, a mixture of mash up technologies and web scraping is employed to search the web for relevant responses. Pattern matching is used to summarize a direct answer from a web page. Several passes may be required to find a concise answer. A direct answer is then spoken out loud, and displayed in a speech bubble. When a direct answer cannot be summarized the user is prompted by speech to click on their search bubble to see web search results based on their spoken query."

That's some pretty impressive work for a single developer if you ask us. The actual voice-recognition software is based on Nuance but the data fetching and matching are all his doing. And it works. That's one thing we want to stress here, we didn't find this app gimmicky at all but instead quite useful for mathematical questions, random trivia, posting to our Twitter/Facebook/Live, getting directions, flight status and more. Having the phone read back to you the answer in a clean, minimalist setting makes it feel smart. Heck, it even got our Monty Python question right (see YouTube video).

The version you see in the video is heading to the Marketplace as we speak but you can grab the slightly older version right now. Give it a go--it's free, useful and really quite an extraordinary app. Leib also has a lot of plans to further refine and enhance the experience including expanded speech grammar, multi-language support and even language translations. Check out the Ask Ziggy website here for more info.

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TellMe used to be a separate company specializing in voice recognition technology, until Microsoft swooped in, bought and merged them with their own exiting voice research team in early 2009. Flash forward a few months and we finally saw the first iterations of TellMe on the Samsung Intrepid in October 2009, giving us an idea of what to expect from the future partnership.

Mango will be improving the user experience with the option to use speech for text input with SMS conversation. More control will be at hand with replying, having messages read out loud and more (see our video demo with Bing services here).

But the big question is: Will Windows Phone developers ever have access to these tools? As of now, the answer is 'no' but Microsoft is starting to budge on the issue and they look like they will be opening up their TellMe voice services for WP7 developers. No timeline is given, but they are now registering developer interest via a list. So to all devs: go voice your opinion on the matter and hopefully Microsoft will movea a bit faster.

Head here, near the bottom, to register your interest: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/Tellme/developers/

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Cloud based SDK for WP7 released

Microsoft has been busy on the researching side of the border for some time with their mobile platform. It has yet ceased to halt at its lightning pace. An interesting update with this path is the release of a Software Development Kit (SDK) for cloud services on WP7, which is designed to aid with Project Hawaii

“Our current platform consists of a Windows Phone 7 smartphone and several cloud services, including existing Microsoft offerings and some prototype services. The existing Microsoft offerings include Windows Azure for computation and data storage, Bing Maps for mapping services, and Windows Live ID for user identification.”

This all sounds quite interesting, and would be great to see how WP7 can interact with Microsoft’s cloud – imagine having the processes and services that take majority of your smartphone resources to be carried out on a remote platform.

The Hawaii team is working on speech-to-text, OCR in the cloud that allows photos to be taken and any text present in any given image will be returned as a Unicode string, and more. You can check out the SDK, which has been released here.

Source: ZDNet

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We were just envying LG's amazing Voice to Text app, wishing it were on other Windows Phones and evidently others at XDA thought the same. Difference being they went ahead and they allegedly patched the XAP file so as to make it work on any unlocked Windows Phone.  (Similar case with Samsung's apps).

To see if it works we tried it ourselves and sure enough, it does what it was meant to do. Most of you won't have a developer unlocked device to do this and the ChevronWP7 loop hole will be patched soon, plus there's the whole thing that this is technically stealing LG's software and one of their device selling points (though everyone seems okay with loading WP7 on their HD2s, with no concern there--double standard we guess). So you know, we don't recommend you do this, even if you could, which you probably can't.

Source: XDA

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