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Dick Tracy meets Star Trek

November 16, 1999
Web posted at: 4:02 p.m. EST (2102 GMT)

by Ephraim Schwartz


LAS VEGAS (IDG) -- Trekkies from around the universe may want to be on hand here at Comdex when Samsung unveils its watch-size cellular phone that carries out voice-commanded dialing.

Crew members Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton), Scotty (James Doohan), Chekov (Walter Koenig), and many more cast members from the TV series will be on hand on Thursday at the Las Vegas Hilton to demonstrate the phone, which comes with an embedded speech processor for voice access to a contact database.

VideoCNN's Anne McDermott reports on the gee whiz items available at this year's Comdex.
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Smart cell phones

The Samsung phone, which measures 2.7 inches by 2.3 inches by 0.8 inches and weighs 1.7 ounces, will accept user input, about fifty names and numbers, via a touchscreen or voice command. The phone is worn on the wrist and includes earphones for more private conversations.

The speech technology behind the Samsung phone is from Redmond, Wash.-based Conversational Computing, also known as Conversa. And, according to Ron Risdon, executive director for business development at Conversa, the next generation Samsung phone will have two-way voice capability.

"If a user asks for a number to be dialed, the phone will prompt for more explicit instructions by asking, 'home phone, mobile phone, or business phone,' " Risdon said.

Although the crew of the Enterprise never used such a device, the technological point Conversa is trying to make is that the age of two-way conversations with computer devices is at hand.

Conversational Computing will also demonstrate technology called Ensemble, which is designed for ISPs and Internet content providers to create voice-driven applications for accessing the Internet via the phone.

Voice-interactive Web sites will free users from keyboards and will eliminate the need for displays to check weather conditions, flight schedules, and stock prices, according to Risdon.

Pricing for the Samsung phone is not yet determined, but the product will ship in the first quarter.

Ephraim Schwartz is an InfoWorld editor at large based in San Francisco.

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Nokia, Palm join forces on handhelds
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Price of a phone call drops to nil on the Net
(PC World Online)
NTT Labs brings Dick Tracy to the enterprise
(InfoWorld Electric)
Swatch makes Dick Tracy real
(InfoWorld Electric)
Gadgets to star at Comdex
(PC World Online)
Comdex: Acer debuts Net appliances
(PC World Online)
Wireless phones go hands-free
(PC World Online)
The hype around PDAs
(Network World Fusion)
What's the next great gadget?
(Network World Fusion)
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Conversational Computing Inc.
Samsung Telecommunications Inc.
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