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New version of Opera Embeds ViaVoice from IBM
Posted: 24-Mar-2004 [Source: Opera]

[New multi-modal desktop browser offering from Opera provides voice interaction with the web on PCs and, in the near future, mobile devices.]

Oslo, Norway -- Opera Software announced the upcoming release of a multimodal desktop browser that incorporates IBM's Embedded ViaVoice speech technology. By leveraging IBM's voice libraries in this version of Opera, users can navigate, request information and even fill in Web forms using speech and other forms of input in the same interaction.

"Voice is the most natural and effective way we communicate. In the years to come it will greatly facilitate how we interact with technology," says Christen Krogh, VP Engineering, Opera Software ASA. "By making this technology available today for the wider Web audience, the serious work of voice-enabling the Web can commence."

While traditional HTML pages continue to be the foundation of the Web, advances in the function, speed and size of both computers and mobile devices, along with today's diversity of users, has increased the demand for more flexible user interfaces. By building on this standardized foundation using XHTML+Voice (X+V), developers can add voice input and output to traditional, graphically based Web pages and achieve natural voice functionality. For example, Opera's presentation tool, Opera Show, can empower users to replace Microsoft PowerPoint, creating light-weight, Internet standards-based presentations that can also make post-publishing a breeze. By combining Opera Show with voice, can allow users in the future be able to give presentations and tell Opera via voice commands to turn to the next slide without approaching the computer and pressing the 'Page Down' keyboard key.

"This new offering can allow us to interact with the content on the Web in a more natural way, combining speech with other forms of input and output - first on PCs, and in the near future, devices such as cellphones and PDAs," said Igor Jablokov, Director, Embedded Speech, IBM, and Chairman of the VoiceXML Forum. "Developers can also start to build multimodal content using the open standards-based X+V markup language, which unifies the visual and voice Web by using development skills a large population of programmers already have today."

Opera will make the IBM integrated voice browser available in English for Windows with initial targets being enterprise customers and developers.

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