The way Australians speak English is holding up local access to new functions in America Online (AOL)'s version 6 software. AOL by Phone, a service that lets members check their e-mail and use other interface features using simple, spoken commands from any telephone will be not be available in Australia due to our dialect of English.
The developers of the speech software, Speech Works, are working on the Aussie accent, but have not yet set a release date for the software.
The Phone service, so far unavailable to AOL's four million non-American members, is a vital part of the company's AOL Anywhere client, which allows users to access e-mail and services from a variety of wireless devices in addition to their PC.
Speaking at Internet World Fall 2000, John Borthwick, AOL vice president, new product development, said the voice-activated service had been developed in four months and had been beta tested with about 6000 users. He said the service would be ideal for people on the go who do not want to carry a laptop everywhere simply to check their e-mail.