Newcomer’s ‘Perfect’ Voice Control Handset Unveiled

Thick on hype, low on detail.

There has been a lot of hype about this mysterious handset since its late Friday afternoon unveiling – so now the dust has settled what do we know? In truth, virtually nothing…

Dubbed the ‘Zumbafone’, the handset featured briefly on a local BBC news segment where its inventors IA Technology boldly claimed it would revolutionise mobile phone interaction. So what is it?

In short, we see a device in two parts – the handset itself (pictured above, left) and a detachable swirl shaped headset built into the back. IA claims with this system a user simply needs to talk into the headset to dial numbers, recall contacts or even send text messages. A basic pie segmented physical dial pad is also situated on the handset as a backup. Of course this shouldn’t be necessary with IA touting the phone as “the world’s first fully accurate voice recognition system for mobile phones” though the reporter claims “the technology behind this is so secret I can’t actually give you a demonstration of how it works.”

Consequently we learn little else other than received text messages are converted to audio and read back to a user while contacts are stored online at the bizarrely named ‘Zumba Lumba’ website – a seamlessly messy arrangement unless 3G access is involved. On the plus side however, the Zumbafone is little larger than a credit card and will allegedly target the budget end of the market.

Naturally scepticism at this point is running high with many even deeming the operation a giant hoax (*checks calendar for 1 April*) but as always with these things only time will tell. Personally speaking I smell vapourware here with the technology instead being sold/licensed off to major phone makers should it deliver on its lofty promise…

Zumba Lumba
BBC Report

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