Windows Phone 8, the most recent Microsoft phone to be placed on the market, reflects the rising customer demand for speech recognition technology. In addition to an on-screen keyboard that works across 50 languages, Windows Phone 8 offers customers a speech recognition tool that can interpret 15 languages, as well as various English-language dialects — the Indian accent, for example.
According to Microsoft, improved language support was the number one feature that customers had asked for. It’s unlikely that Microsoft would have devoted considerable time and money to improving the speech recognition capability of the Windows Phone if only disabled users would benefit. However, Microsoft’s improvements do provide more evidence of the fact that assistive technologies benefit disabled and abled customers alike, and greater recognition of this fact is likely to spur the kind of changes we would like to see.