UK portal Breathe plans to let Wap phone users surf the internet using speech commands rather than small and often hard to use phone keypads.
Breathe will launch what it calls the '5th Generation Voice Portal' in the third quarter. Using voice commands, consumers will be able to access content quickly and accurately, eliminating the need to key in instructions using what Breathe called "baffling menu structures".
It said the service will address the problems many consumers have suffered with Wap technology. According to Breathe, claims from many operators about Wap being easy and fast to use are untrue. It says many consumers are left disappointed and confused.
Sean Gardner, chief executive at Breathe, said: "Phones were made for talking and listening with. Voice will be the killer application for mobile phones and we want to be at the forefront of this technology."
The technology will include a calendar product which will operate as a virtual personal assistant. The PA will be able to offer travel directions and transport timetables. Users will give a command and could be sent information back as an SMS or via Wap.
Gardner said the company will be running a beta trial of the service over the next two to three months and will make it fully available in the autumn.
Breathe also has plans to introduce a virtual wallet to its 5th Generation Mobile Internet service. Users will need to enter an authentication code to buy goods and services via the internet without the need to transmit credit card details.
Breathe was formed in 1998 by Martin Dawes Telecommunications (MDT), but was spun off last year when BT Cellnet bought MDT. Last month, breathe received equity funding of £20m from a syndicate of venture capitalists including Chase Captial.
Gardner said the company had always planned to be established in the mobile internet arena but the sale from Martin Dawes meant it needed to establish its own customer base. Breathe established itself as an internet service provider and currently has 50,000 customers registered to its unmetered internet access service.
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