You don't need a fistful of dollars to make an international call, just a computer with a microphone, speakers, and one of the six applications we gathered together for you in this collection of free voice-chat apps (some offer upgrades to premium services.) As a bonus, all of these fine downloads offer video calls to let you put a face to a voice.
Article edited at 2/10/09 at 8:00 PM to clarify the history of OneSearch for mobile.
Yahoo on Monday released an update to its voice-activated mobile search app, Yahoo OneSearch, that gets a handful of new capabilities for both its full-fledged app and OneSearch shortcut, plus new support for the Windows Mobile operating system. The OneSearch shortcut is a plug-in that lets you search by typing or speaking search terms into a search bar located on the home screen of your mobile phone.
The question which brands are the best at “socializing” with their audiences is often asked, but rarely answered. Now Vitrue, a social media advertising solutions company, has attempted to capture a snapshot by releasing a Top Social Brands of 2008 list. The ranking is based on the Social Media Index (SMI), a measurement system the company launched to help track brands' share of voice on the social web. The Top 100, which range from the iPhone, CNN, and Disney at the top of the list, to Jet Blue, Puma, and Sears at the bottom of the list, were drawn from … Read more
Since its inception, YouMail, a visual voicemail service for mobile phones, has had one big problem. You could view and play your mobile phone's voicemail messages online, or--beginning lat June--by pointing the mobile browser to YouMail.com, but messages weren't stored on the device itself.
Starting Wednesday, YouMail has begun to change that with a native YouMail in-box for BlackBerry phones. Visual Voicemail Plus is a free downloadable app that stores your incoming voice messages along with the caller's name, number, and time of call.
In addition to viewing and playing messages in any order you'd … Read more
A correction has been made to this story. See below for details.
As mentioned in an earlier post about the upcoming firmware update for T-Mobile's G1, the built-in Google search tool is getting voice-powered search. Like Google's rule-breaking, first-party iPhone search application, users can simply talk into the application to have their queries transcribed into text.
The big difference, however, is that users will need to begin a voice search by tapping the microphone icon instead of simply holding their phone up to their face.
Why is this you ask? The G1 is missing the oh-so-important proximity sensor, … Read more
Verizon is readying a new product that will marry its wireless phone service with an Internet home phone that uses a broadband network to make calls.
The new phone system, called Verizon Hub, connects to any broadband line to provide home phone service using the Internet. It integrates with Verizon Wireless service so that customers can send and receive SMS text messages directly from their home phone and use location-based services, like Chaperone and VZ Navigator. It also provides additional Web-based services, such as an online calendar and a contact list that syncs with Microsoft Outlook.
The service is designed to give families or multiple people living in a household an alternative to the traditional copper based phone system.
The Hub will go on sale at Verizon retail stores February 1. It costs $199 after a $50 rebate. Customers must sign up for a two-year contract with a monthly charge of $34.99. The monthly service charge includes unlimited local and long distance calling in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. The service is only offered to Verizon Wireless customers, and the integrated cell phone service only works with Verizon Wireless phones. The Verizon Hub is considered to be a part of Verizon Wireless in-calling plans, so Verizon Wireless subscribers can send unlimited text messages to the Hub and calls made to the Hub phone aren't counted as part of their anytime minute usage.
The product itself consists of a cordless handset that sits in a docking station that has a 7-inch touch-screen display. From this touch screen, users can access several Internet widgets for news, sports, and traffic information. It's also where users can manage their calendars and send and receive text messages from Verizon Wireless phones.
The service is integrated with Verizon's location services. For example, users can look up nearby movie theaters, purchase tickets, and get directions right from the Hub. These directions can then be forwarded directly to a Verizon Wireless phone via an SMS message.… Read more
Here's a concept I don't quite get. BlindSpeak, which launched on Tuesday, lets you type in a message to send to someone else as a voice message. Whatever you've written gets synthesized by Microsoft Sam's text-to-speech reader then read back as an audio message.
The synthesized messages arrive in your recipient's e-mail in-box as both an MP3 file and a link to the Flash player. Missing completely is the actual text you wrote. Assuming you're sending this to someone with visual impairments they probably have their own system for dealing with text e-mails that … Read more
On Saturday, CNET, in partnership with the Consumer Electronics Association, handed out its Best of CES 2009 Awards, including Best in Show and the People's Voice Award. And this year's big winner? The Palm Pre.
The Palm Pre smartphone took home both honors and became the first cell phone/smartphone to win the Best in Show since CNET started presenting the Best of CES awards in 2006. The Palm Pre went up against some stiff competition, including the Sony DSC-G3 and the Sony P-series Lifestyle PC. So why the Pre?
Well, it was a combination of things. First, … Read more
The device has a shiny metallic sheen, comes with three different size ear gels, and offers features such as noise-cancellation and automatic volume control. It has a promised talk time of 5.5 hours and a standby time of 8.3 days. It will be available later this month for about $100.
This stellar voice-transcription application does more than search the Web or place a call in response to your spoken command. Vlingo lets you get specific, searching Google or Yahoo and updating your Facebook and Twitter status. You can also launch applications, write notes to yourself, and verbally compose a text or e-mail message.
The set-up is a little laborious, and Vlingo does have a learning curve, but the step-by-step instructions help you program a fast access key that works like a record button, and the help file is a good, easily access reminder of what you can say and do. … Read more