Just a decade ago people using handsfree equipment on the streets and cafés might easily look like people talking to themselves, which naturally rose questions about their mental health. Nowadays Asustek Computer wants buyers of Eee PC netbooks to talk to their computers in a bid to simplify rather complex controls that are a consequence of ultra-small sizes.
“Actually, internally we have one team dedicated to studying voice recognition. Touch and gesture input is universal, whereas language is not universal. The first Eee PC or Eee Top products implementing voice-recognition and features will be ready by Q3/Q4 2009 […]. So this is something we will see very soon, later this year,” said Jerry Shen, chief executive of Asustek Computer, in an interview with TechRadar web-site.
It is hardly a news that ultra small form-factor Asus Eee PC systems hardly provide truly comfortable input: keyboards and touch-pads are rather small and touch-sensitive interfaces are not something that can become popular quickly and solve all the issues, especially considering low-resolution 1024x600 displays utilized on Eee PCs
In theory, voice commands can solve certain issues, like launches of certain programs and making certain quick tasks. However, it will hardly be possible to use voice commands in all types of programs as well as for certain commonly-used tasks like copying selected text from a web-site and sending it via instant messenger.
But there are much more notable drawback of voice commands: technical impossibility to use them in noisy environments and ethical constraints to use them in others. Moreover, as the public questioned mental health of those using handsfree a decade ago, a lot more people are likely to question psychological healthiness of someone talking to a computer on an airplane, café, bus, train, etc.