Thursday, December 01, 2005

metabadge - wireless, voice pda

A small group of hardware and software engineers put together a prototype of a new kind of pda - one that completely used voice, with no stylus, and no display. What we found about people's use of PDAs was surprising, and showed a market gap still waiting for a commercial solution.

A wireless, voice-controlled pda. Crazy? or Visionary?

When we began the metabadge project and started to show the prototype, a frequent question was, "Why doesn't it have a display". The answer is simple - you don't need one.

This was 2002. Every pda, every existing version on the shelf had a screen. Yet our research showed people typically had one or two simple queries -

Where am I supposed to be right now?
Am I free Thursday at 2:00?
"Book an appointment, Friday at 10:00, Meet to discuss online help"
What is Dan's phone number?

metabadge enabled anyone who could speak or listen to answer these questions with as little as one button click. That's simplicity. That's ease of use.

The Creo metabadge - Top things people want from a PDA - without a display.

Top Issues Users had with PDAs

    • Size - PDAs are too big to carry everywhere. If it's sitting on the desk, it's not personal enough.
    • Sync - Care and feeding of a PDA was a leading reason to not use them after a few months. Simply too much bother to cable up and sync.
    • Data Entry - Users ended up treating their PDA's read-only, since entering data was too cumbersome
    • Complex - More features meant more clicks to do anything at all, even simple things.

metabadge Key Features

  • small enough to fit in a pocket
  • Airsync - Bluetooth® enabled, metabadge syncs automatically anytime it can or needs to
  • Simple - one click tells you the time, and your next (or current!) appointment.
  • Scroll - one scroll takes you through you future appointments or phone contacts
  • Listen - voice synthesis plays your appointments and contacts so you can keep your eyes on the road
  • Speak - uses Microsoft Speech Recognition, one phrase can book an appointment in Outlook

Creo's metabadge prototype was demonstrated publicly in 2002, but not commercialized. Yet.