Netscape for OS/2 gets a voice

IBM and Netscape officials are promoting the voice capabilities of OS/2 Warp 4.0 as an advantage over Microsoft's operating systems and browser.

In their attempt to build user interest in the latest browser upgrade to OS/2 Warp 4.0, both IBM and Netscape officials are promoting the voice recognition and voice navigation capabilities of OS/2 Warp 4.0 as an advantage over Microsoft's Windows 95 and Windows NT operating systems and Internet Explorer browser. But just how many users IBM and Netscape can hook in with this capability remains to be seen.

"Talking to your computer is real George Jetson stuff, but we have to take a look at the hardware costs per station associated with it and how more productive our users will be with it going over the Web," says Ron Jenkins, senior IS manager with a large Maryland-based utility company.

Voice recognition will allow Warp users to surf the Internet using only voice commands. A menu bar item called Links records all links most recently seen by various parts of a Web page.

In addition to voice recognition capabilities, the second beta-test version of Navigator 2.02 for OS/2 Warp 4.0, which was announced in late November, also includes Java 1.02 and the integration of email and newsgroups.

Java 1.02 replaces Java 1.01, which shipped with OS/2 Warp 4.0, and can be used with Warp, Version 3.0, and Warp Connect. Java 1.02 reportedly speeds up the performance of Java-based applications.

This second beta-test version also contains an early version of the OS/2 multimedia plug-ins. The plug-ins are intended to provide support for multimedia Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions in addition to other file types and extensions, including MPEG, QuickTime, .AVI, .VOC, .WAV and MIDI.

IBM has improved the drag-and-drop capabilities in the new beta version. Users can now drag images to a folder and then back into an HTML window, drag and drop mail items into folders, or drag and drop news and mail documents to the desktop from the item itself instead of from a list box.

The company has included a preliminary version of the Windows 3.1 plug-in support. However, in order to use this capability users need Warp 4.0, or Version 3.0 with Fixpack 26.

IBM is also providing a plug-in toolkit for those developers interested in creating native plug-ins for the OS/2 version of Navigator.

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