CTIA 2010: Vlingo Takes On Oprah

3:05 PM -- SAN FRANCISCO -- CTIA ENTERPRISE & APPLICATIONS 2010 -- It's that classic parenting dilemma of if they're going to do it, why not equip them to do it safely? That's also the logic behind Vlingo's new InCar app, launched today exclusively for Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) Android 2.1 devices, that lets drivers send and respond to text messages, make calls, or get directions all hands free.

Oprah takes the abstinence-only approach and has so far gotten 401,508 to sign her No Phone Zone Pledge, promising not to use the phone at in the car. But, Vlingo's recent study shows that the majority of those people may be lying to the world's most powerful woman.

Vlingo's survey of 5,000 Americans reports that 35 percent of phone users continue to text behind the wheel even with 30 states banning it by law. That's up from 26 percent in 2009, and the percent climbs to 62 percent in the 20-to-29-year-old category.

To buck this trend, Vlingo InCar is entirely voice-controlled. It's powered on by a "wake-up word" and responds to voice prompts for texting, calling, navigating through Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Maps integration, and even social networking. Vlingo president and CEO Dave Grannan showed off the sleek-looking app and demo at CTIA. Check out the in-car version below.

The wireless operators typically take a third parental approach to texting-while-driving -- the not-saying-much-of-anything tactic. That's because the laws are different in every state and are often ambiguous, Grannan said, causing the carriers to tread lightly. He said that the Vlingo InCar app will be available to other carriers and connected devices soon.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:21:38 PM
re: CTIA 2010: Vlingo Takes On Oprah

Vlingo certainly isn't the only speech-to-text provider targeting drivers (DriveSafe.ly, Nuance's Dragon and Text'NDrive are a few others), but it is the coolest demo I've seen. The translations were spot on. I'd be curious to see how it performs on the road.

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:21:37 PM
re: CTIA 2010: Vlingo Takes On Oprah

Sprint's Danny Bowman suggested another safety altnerative - use M2M to turn off text messaging when the car reaches a certain speed.

Another solution - Do what Oprah really does and hire a driver.

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