Microsoft Recite: useful, interesting, drop-dead simple and powerful

Summary:ZDNet colleague Zack Whittaker has a way of firing me up from time to time (check out my Windows Mobile post from last month) and he does it again this Friday with his Microsoft Recite post. I am not sure if it is because of Zack's foreign accent, the site says it is available in English (US) and not the English(UK), or maybe the particular Windows Mobile device he is using (Zack, what device do you have?), but Recite doesn't seem to work very well for him. On the other hand, I actually used it several times just this week on my Palm Treo Pro (I've been using this device more and more lately) and find it to be an awesome utility and find the technology behind the application to be quite powerful.

ZDNet colleague Zack Whittaker has a way of firing me up from time to time (check out my Windows Mobile post from last month) and he does it again this Friday with his Microsoft Recite post. I am not sure if it is because of Zack's foreign accent, the site says it is available in English (US) and not the English(UK), or maybe the particular Windows Mobile device he is using (Zack, what device do you have?), but Recite doesn't seem to work very well for him. On the other hand, I actually used it several times just this week on my Palm Treo Pro (I've been using this device more and more lately) and find it to be an awesome utility and find the technology behind the application to be quite powerful.

As you can see on the How it Works page the user interface for Recite is as basic as you can get with a soft key for Remember and one for Search. Results from a search are then ordered by matched score and you simply select to listen to the voice note. It doesn't get any simpler than that and I found it always finding the correct voice note every single time. The tips for best results do state you should hold your device about a foot from your mouth and speak confidently like a news reporter. Maybe Zack needs to work on his news reporter voice ;)

While I find Recite to be solid, accurate, and responsive you also have to remember the current release from Microsoft Labs is a Technology Preview so it is still under development and is a demonstration of what a future product may look like.

I also find Zack's "some important points" section to be a bit silly. There may be some Windows Mobile devices that crash and are slow, but there are also MANY others that are rock solid and perform just fine. My Treo Pro is outstanding and the non-touch screen devices I have used never crash. Also, you can pick up most Windows Mobile devices for almost nothing with a contract and they aren't any more expensive than any other smartphone device. Do people really carry around Post-it notes or pen and paper all the time to leave notes? I have to think a mobile phone is with you more often than these items and the ability to capture a thought quickly and easily on your phone and then later easily find it makes more practical sense to me. Lastly, Recite may not work for Zack, but it works flawlessly for me.

I actually have a Scottish fellow who works here in my office so I think I'll have him test out Recite next week and see how it performs for him.

Topics: Smartphones, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Wi-Fi, Windows

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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