SEATTLE — Microsoft Corp.’s Tellme subsidiary launched an application for the BlackBerry on Tuesday that lets people speak commands into their smart phones to search for businesses, look up movie times, check traffic and make other queries.
Once users download the program, they can push on their phone’s green “talk” button and say either the name of a business, type of business or the keywords “weather,” “movies,” “traffic,” “map” or “driving directions.”
Using global positioning, the system figures out where the user is and delivers nearby results from Microsoft’s Live Search engine to the smart phone’s screen, along with links to call, get directions, buy movie tickets and perform other related actions.
The program works on only some of Research in Motion Ltd.’s newer BlackBerry models. Tellme, which Microsoft acquired in 2007 for $800 million, said versions for Helio, Windows Mobile and Apple Inc.’s iPhone devices are in the works.
The Tellme program’s launch comes just weeks after Yahoo Inc. unveiled a new version of its mobile search system, oneSearch 2.0, which includes voice search and is also designed to work with certain BlackBerry models.
“People are getting more frustrated with the fact that these cell phones are getting smaller and smaller, but more and more function is getting crammed into them,” Mike McCue, founder and general manager of Tellme, said. “To try to get anything done — navigate through all these menus — it takes time. To try to do that while driving, walking, on the go, is very challenging.”