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Hands-On: Voice input for keyboard on HTC EVO

Can voice replace text input on Android phones?
Written by Joel Evans, Contributor

I've been playing with the HTC EVO since it first shipped and have to say that I remain very impressed with it. The biggest drawback I had encountered was battery life, but that seems to have been fixed with the latest update.

While playing with the HTC EVO last night I decided to try out the voice input for keyboard feature, new in Android phones. In order to perform the voice input, you can either press the microphone button on the on-screen keyboard, or swipe across the keyboard from left to right. In my case, I pressed the microphone button and after a few starts and stops, managed to get it to recognize my regular speech, though I do sound a bit too mellow in the video below.

The most amazing thing to me about voice input is how far it has come. I remember at a mobius gathering long ago where Microsoft Research people showed off voice dictation from the handset. At the time the handset was connected via WiFi to a backend server, which handled all of the voice to text translation. Now our phones are powerful enough to handle it all themselves, and with little or no delay.

I'll be playing around with voice input more in the coming days, since I want to see if I can learn it enough that it actually replaces the need to type on the on-screen keyboard going forward.

If you're wondering where else voice input has been integrated into Android, check out Google's demo video below.

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