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iPhone & iPad Live 185: Sexist Siri Santa

Rene, Georgia, and Seth talk Santa Siri commercial, sexism charges, AT&T and T-Mobile deal, Nuance buying Vlingo, how to replace your iPhone 4 vibrator assembly, jailbreak, Facebook Timelines, Kindle updates, FPS games, and more. This is iPhone and iPad Live!

Note: Due to the holiday and CES schedule, we won't be recording on Sundays for the next few weeks, so enjoy special iPhone and iPad combined episodes every Wednesday!

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Nuance acquiring voice-recognition app maker Vlingo

Nuance Communications, makers Dragon Dictation and the voice recognition technology behind Siri in the iPhone 4S, have agreed to purchase competitor Vlingo.

Nuance Communications Inc. agreed to buy Vlingo Inc. in a deal that gives the developer of voice- command technology a system that can respond to spoken words with actions such as Internet searches.

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Vlingo 2.0 for iPhone Brings Voice to Email, SMS

Vlingo 2.0 for iPhone [Free with in-app purchase - iTunes link] brings an all new, all prettier graphical user interface to the table, as well as Email and SMS Paste dictation -- as an in-app purchase.

The new UI looks great and more importantly, works great. The icons are big and easy to hit and helpful tips are littered everywhere. You can tap to start recording and tap again to stop, or just hold down, talk, and release. For the various situations where you need to use voice instead of typing -- like while driving (if it's legal in your region!) -- that kind of ease of use is priceless.

With the free app you get Maps, Search, Social (Facebook and Twitter), and Voice Dial. As mentioned, the Email and SMS Paste dictation are via in-app purchase. Note, it's called SMS Paste because, unlike with Email, Apple won't allow apps to send SMS so it just copies your text and launches the Messages apps. You have to paste the text and then hit send on your own. The Email and SMS Paste options are $6.99 separately or $9.99 if purchased together. Whether they're worth or not depends entirely on how important voice email and SMS dictation are to you right now.

TiPb got our hands on the final version a couple of days early so we had a chance to try it out for a while already. All in all, Vlingo 2 works about as well as you'd expect a voice dictation app to work -- usually quite well, with hilarious tragedy on occasion. It does learn, however, so if you enunciate well and keep at it, your results should improve.

I liked it enough to buy the App Store version on release along with the Email and SMS Paste bundle. It's bleeding edge technology that should get better and more elegant in the future. And I'm a sucker for the the Star Trek-style apps.

Screen shots and video after the break! If you try it out, let us know what you think!

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Quick App: Vlingo Voice Powered Search for iPhone

Looks like Google isn't the only one making sure that when a user talks, the iPhone listens. Vlingo wrote in to tell us that their well-known BlackBerry app is now available for the iPhone, and it sure looks like they've been listening as well!

Vlingo lets you:

  • Initiate calls to anyone in your address book.
  • Look up anything through Yahoo! or Google in one step. Just say, “Web search: concert tickets in Boston,” and the results are displayed.
  • Look up and map local listings. For example, by saying, “Find Italian restaurants in San Francisco,” vlingo will show choices and can populate Google Maps with the touch of a button.
  • Send Facebook and Twitter status updates without typing. Vlingo also automatically embeds a Web browser so users can easily access the mobile versions of Facebook and Twitter to keep track of their friends’ updates.

Google works pretty well, but doesn't include contact search (and seems to have trouble with British, Southern, or anything other than TV-ized North American accents.)

Vlingo does search contacts, and does a good job of it (and even suggests alternatives, which is welcome when it has trouble distinguishing between individuals with close-sounding names). However, unlike Google (which uses forbidden API's to access the phone-like "lift to your ear and start talking" functionality) you have to press a button, then talk, then press a button again when you're finished. There are helpful tutorials included to get you used to the process and on your way.

Gallery after the jump!

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