Microsoft Touts Live Search Advances for Windows Mobile, Blackberry

Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled new features of its Live Search tool for mobile devices, including integrated voice input functionality. More impressive, perhaps: Voice input will ship on for Blackberries as well as Microsoft's Windows Mobile devices. Today's announcements came during a Microsoft keynote address at CITA Wireless 2008 in Las Vegas.

"Microsoft has made broad investments in voice where it improves the consumer experience--search, in car, gaming and new mobile applications," a Microsoft representative told me. "For example, over the past year Microsoft's been expanding voice services in both mobile and the car, with Live Search voice search for Sprint and Windows Mobile, Live Search 411, Tellme's voice portal services and Ford Sync. All of these services are pioneering how voice technologies can simplify everyday tasks and give people easy access to the things they want when they are on-the-go."

Microsoft will ship a new version of Live Search for Windows Mobile smart phones and other devices this spring, the company says. That new version will provide deeper integration with Windows Mobile phones, user generated PC content, and Web search. In addition to voice input, it will also add contact mapping, Virtual Earth map collections, more integrated Web search, and four-day weather forecasts.

On the Blackberry, Microsoft will be shipping voice input functionality for the mobile version of Live Search. Blackberry users will be able to quickly find businesses and restaurants, get turn by turn driving directions, and view it all on interactive maps by simply speaking their request, Microsoft tells me.

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