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IBM helps users dictate to their PCs

IBM's VoiceType now lets PC word processors get down every word.

New technology from IBM lets users dictate to their PCs and may pave the way to futuristic word processing.

IBM today announced VoiceType 3.0 for Windows 95, an improved version of the company's voice-recognition software.

Typical voice-recognition software now on the market allows users to replace the mouse-clicking function with oral commands, such as open word processor and save document. But IBM is touting the software's capability to let users actually dictate text to the computer--even on a low-end Pentium PC. The technology allows users to dictate as quickly as 70 words per minute directly into applications such as WordPro, Word, and Lotus Notes.

For now, however, users are limited to what is known as "discrete" dictation, which requires a pause between each word. The company says it will release "continuous" recognition software down the road to address that shortcomingt.

VoiceType 3.0 for Windows 95 is priced at $699; upgrades for previous users of VoiceType, including OS/2 and Windows 3.x, cost $99. Both the stand-alone version and the upgrade ship with a microphone. The bare minimum to use the software is a 90-MHz Pentium PC with 16MB of RAM and a Sound Blaster-compatible sound card, the company said.