Nuance Communications recently provided access to its Dragon NatuarllySpeaking software development kit (SDK) to mobile developers building apps for the iOS or Android platforms. With the SDK, developers will be able to integrate speech recognition capabilities into their mobile applications and/or create "speech aware" apps.

Beyond the new era of talking to your phone! (Or maybe not...)

About the SDK

With the Dragon Mobile SDK, Nuance is allowing any mobile developer to leverage the software that exists at the core of the company's well-known voice and dictation products, like Dragon Dictation, its Dragon Search apps and Nuance's Vocalizer text-to-speech.

Through a self-serve website that's a part of the Nuance Mobile Developer Program, developers can download the SDK for Apple iOS 4.0 (iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch) and for (select) devices running Android 2.1 and higher. The SDK currently supports U.S. and U.K. English, European Spanish, European French, German, Italian and Japanese for dictation and search, with additional languages to be added through the end of the year, says Nuance. TTS capabilities also now exist for more than 35 languages.

Included with the SDK are easy-to-integrate prepackaged wrappers and widgets for rapid inclusion of voice recognition into moblie applications. In addition, developers have access to an online forum for support, a variety of code samples and full documentation.

The Dragon SDK is already being used in a number of mobile apps, says Nuance, including Siri, Price Check by Amazon, Ask for iPhone, aisle411, Merriam-Webster, Dictionary.com and SpeechTrans.

No, It's Not Free

The SDK is free to download and use for 90 days, but when the app is ready for market, developers will need to choose from a variety of tiered pricing plans before listing the app for download or sale . A number of media outlets reporting this news incorrectly said that the SDK was "free," missing this rather important disclaimer.

The pricing structure doesn't sit well with some developers, however - for example this guy (translated from French), who, citing minimum licensing costs of $1,000, basically says that the pricing scheme is "abusive" and calls it, well, explicative deleted.

Ouch. Maybe this is not the new era of talking to your phone after all...