Local media research firm The Kelsey Group just forecast “portal-backed wireless voice search [will] reach 1.45 billion queries in 2010” and cause “a significant disruption of the directory assistance market.” On one level, this is self-evident. Because of increasing competition and free alternatives, consumer-pays wireless directory assistance (DA) will eventually go away, unless it becomes incredibly valuable and useful. Cingular is trying to do just that with help from Tellme.
Right now, voice is not “the killer app” for mobile. But it could well accelerate usage of mobile data services and mobile local search if it works well. There will probably be a range of applications and user experiences that gain traction with mobile users, chiefly because of the range of devices out there and their capabilities and limitations. The optimal mobile interface and user experience will involve some combination of “modalities,” perhaps with voice as an option but certainly the ability to use the keypad to enter text and save listings and/or browse content.