Monday, February 2, 2009

Zumba Lumba - iPhone killer or simply a hoax?

A no-frills phone with the unlikely name of Zumba Lumba has recently received some attention by the BBC. The phone is said to be top-secret, developed by a defense-aviation company. It does without frills like a camera or an applications platform, but touts some interesting security and computational features, (not only) related to speech technology:

  • Cloud computing - the phone uses no local storage for contacts, data.
  • Network speech recognition - user input is recognized over the internet. This should avoid hardware intensive local computing for voice input, but requires internet access.
  • Voice identification - enhanced security, because the phone will only respond to a single user's voice.
Some seem to think this is a potential iPhone killer at least in terms of making use of innovative input modalities (though Google already released a speech recognition app for the iPhone.) Others simply thinks it's a hoax.

Either way, the idea of joining mobile with cloud computing is interesting. Using voice identification for security has its appeal as well, even if it's unclear whether keeping data in the cloud and sending voice data over the internet is any more secure than simply keeping data on your phone, locally.

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