Sohu IT, 2/11/11
According to a source at Guangdong Unicom, China Unicom (NYSE: CHU; 0762.HK; 600050.SH) is actively preparing to launch an audio-based microblogging service. A beta iPhone mobile application under development displays not only basic microblogging features but also a "voice" feature allowing users to post recorded voice messages to their microblog at regular calling rates.
According to the source, the service, temporarily called "Red Microblog," will begin beta testing no earlier than late February. Beta testing will only be open to select Unicom subscribers, but could be released nationwide if it performs well in trials.
The service operates two ways: first, after binding their phone number and microblog account, users can call Unicom customer service to record a one minute message, which will be posted after content is approved. The second method uses voice recognition to allow users to dictate a message in the iPhone application using Anhui-based voice software developer USTC iFlytek's voice-to-text technology, but the beta version performs poorly due to problems discerning dialect, homophones, voice speed, and background noise.