Intel brings voice search to ultrabooks

Intel is partnering with voice-control specialist Nuance to put voice control options into ultrabooks.
Written by Jack Clark, Contributor

Intel is going to integrate a Google Voice-like technology into its future ultrabooks.

By partnering with voice specialist Nuance, Intel will let ultrabook buyers use speech to control their laptop, Dadi Perlmutter, general manager of the Intel Architecture Group, said in a keynote speech at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco on Tuesday.

In an onstage demonstration, attendees saw an Intel developer instruct a Dell XPS ultrabook to search the web, look up a product on Amazon, tweet a link to it, and then play some music. All of this was done with voice control.

The software "is running native on the platform. This is not a cloud service, this requires the high-performing CPU and the capabilities inside", Perlmutter said. Intel has worked with Nuance to tune the application for its processors to maximise performance, he said. 

The software pairs Nuance's Dragon Assistant technology with Intel-based ultrabooks and should be available as a beta in late 2012 and as a full product in the first quarter of 2013.

It is reminiscent of Google Voice, which lets Android users search the web and control their phone by talking to it. The main difference is that Intel's software is initiated by the user saying 'Hello Dragon' to their computer, while Google typically requires the user to touch the screen.

Nuance's flagship product for PCs is Dragon Naturally Speaking. Furthermore, its technology sits at the heart of Apple's Siri voice search technology. 

Perlmutter joked that a version of the technology that can cope with his Israeli accent should be available "in about a year". Intel is going to work with Nuance to bring new features to the software in the future, he said. 

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