Freescale's initiative will serve to broaden the horizon for touch screens, allowing the technology to extend itself into applications outside of the smartphone and tablet industry. Given the low cost, it could be of great benefit to the medical and educational sectors.
Many iPhone owners seem to like to play games with Siri, like suggesting what it can go do with itself and seeing how it responds. I'm guessing the second-gen Siri will be more innovative as far as how it replies to queries it doesn't "understand."
You've got a point there, Alex, with the problem of the machine "overhearing" a conversation not meant for it. Do you know how that is addressed with Siri? Do you have to touch a button first to get it's attention or do you address it directly? I can see it now: To friend: "Seriously, I'm not going to call my boss and tell him..." PHONE: "Calling Boss...."
Jack, now that touch is being accepted and widely deployed, it'll be interesting to see how quickly voice (recognition) will evolve. If you'd asked me a year ago, I would've said it isn't even on the radar. Now, with Apple's Siri, which I believe is based on Nuance's Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition technology, we see that voice is actually consumer-ready. So this means it will move into the business arena shortly, too. The scary thing with speech, though (aside from the technical challenges of background noise), is that you actually DON'T want in-plant speech recognition technology to be too responsive. You want to authenticate the user (not that you do that with touch-- their presence on the plant floor and/or access to the HMI panel is their authentication). I guess what I mean is, you don't want to voice recognizer to do stuff when a command isn't really intended. Like when someone says "I was so tired last nite, with I got home I went to sleep," you don't want it putting some industrial computer in sleep mode.
Glad to see this technology taking shape. I remember when I first introduced touch as the operator interface at my former company - a manufacturer of off-road industrial vehicles. Half the place said that it would never be accepted. Then, as soon as it was introduced, people started clamoring for this type of technology.
"Touch mania," as author Colin Johnson characterizes it, is indeed the order of the day. I can't tell you how much interest I've seen in HMI and touch-panel interfaces of all sorts at all the automation shows I went to in 2011.
Freescale does it again. I have some experience with the Xtrinsic line (accelerometer). This is definately a game changer. As touch screens become more widely deployed, the cost of the screens becomes a driving cost factor. With MS Windows 8 supportig touch screens, there will be a move to support touch screens on a PC platform without increasing the cost significantly to compete with tablets.
As users get more and more comfortable with the touch screen paradigm via increased use of smart phones and tablets, it definitely ups the ante for deployment of the same interface technology on other kinds of platforms. This seems like a good alternative to help defray some of the high costs of touch screen technology so manufacturers can stay with the times without having to pass on the expense to customers. I'm assuming there are or will be other alternatives with the same value proposition.