Compaq is developing a software application that can create lifelike animated faces to provide interaction and assistance on PCs and Internet sites.
The PC giant's chief, Eckhard Pfeiffer, tested the development by displaying a Pfeiffer-like face on a screen and exchanging conversation with him. Ironically the face outperformed the human with Pfeiffer managing to fluff his timing in a joke about his lack of sense of humour.
The software, called Facework, automates the creation process of the animated talking heads and uses real speech for its voice. Pfeiffer said the software could give personality to a desktop to provide news, entertainment, support services or even delivering electronic mail.
Long time show watchers remembered IBM promising some years back a similar interface concept to go with OS/2, but this never saw the light of day.
Compaq also announced some PCs for the US market that come with integrated digital modems to access broadband data services, allowing speeds of up to 1.5Mbps.
"Compaq's long term goal is to be the preferred brand in the networked digital home," Pfeiffer explained.
Along with these new Presario PC models, Compaq also has signed a number of agreements with telecommunications providers in the US to provide associated broadband services over cable, digital subscriber line (DSL) and satellite.
As part of this goal the company has already made an investment in cable Internet service provider Road Runner.
Dell recently announced an alliance with a number of US telecommunications companies to provide asynchronous DSL (ADSL) ready PCs. ADSL is a way of getting high bandwidth downstream to the user over a standard copper telephone cable.
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