Nuance Offers Dragon Dictation for iPhone

Nuance offers a free (for now) Dragon dictation application designed to give users hands-free texting from their Apple iPhones.

Speech and imaging solutions company Nuance Communication announced its Dragon Dictation application is now available for free (for a limited time) via Apple's App Store for the iPhone. The app allows iPhone users to speak e-mails and text messages instead of typing them, and it also works with the iPhone clipboard, allowing users to speak and paste messages into their other apps, including Facebook and Twitter.

With the Dragon Dictation App, spoken words are transcribed using Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition technology, and the app allows users to speak anything from a one-line text message or status update for Facebook to a multi-paragraph e-mail.

"Dragon Dictation takes the messaging experience on the revolutionary iPhone to a whole new level," said Michael Thompson, senior vice president and general manager of Nuance Mobile. "Dragon Dictation is also incredibly natural and intuitive. Users will soon find they're speaking more than typing using the power of speech to communicate even faster whatever they're doing and wherever they are."

The application, once installed, operates by tapping a red recording button in the middle of the screen to initiate voice recognition process. While the application is recording, the user speaks a message. Users tap the "Done" button at the bottom of the screen when finished speaking. Users can always tap the red recording button again to dictate additional texts, which the company claims records up to five times faster than typing.

To edit transcribed text, users tap the word they would like to correct. When touching the word, users will see a drop-down list of alternative suggestions. To correct a phrase, drag a finger to adjacent words until the entire phrase is highlighted. If one prefers, one can record a new phrase by pressing the red record icon while the original phrase is highlighted. The phrase will be replaced with the new phrase the user speaks. In addition to composing messages by voice, Dragon Dictation provides the ability for users to either enter new text or edit text they have dictated. To type, tap the keyboard icon on the lower left of the screen.

The company also created a blog to announce the launch of the app and address concerns and updates, including a concern about what the Dragon Dictation for the iPhone does with users' contact information.

"As you may have experienced already, Dragon Dictation for the iPhone goes through your contact list on your iPhone and uploads the names to our server. We do this for a pretty simple reason: We found that people are often dictating names from their address book and expect the names to be recognized," Thompson wrote. "Even though there is no personally identifying information, we still treat all of this information with the highest privacy standards. All of our servers are located in the United States and meet the most stringent privacy and security standards. We conform to these high standards because we use the same data centers for other areas of our business where we are required to store personal information."