Nuance recently released [August 2008] their new version of their voice recognition software Dragon Naturally Speaking [DNS] version 10. And with every release they have touted greater speed and greater accuracy; the last version [v9] you didn’t even have to train to start using. Hands down this package is excellent.
DNS is the best voice recognition software there is, the software is not the problem; its the way the company markets this application is what I have a problem with…
If you look on their website for DNS Version 10, it says nowhere that it’s not compatible with Vista 64 or 64 Operating Systems. You have to literally dig through the support forum to find the true grit of the program. You can find their recent post here for all their products. I am finding if you want to find out how good a product is, go look at the support forum first.
Never mind that the software packages they place out there start $99; Some people don’t mind dropping couple hundred dollars on a software package, but if you are on a tight budget and you get deceived on a purchase your gonna be a bit miffed. Returning software to a retailer is not a easy task and the first thing they throw at you is their return policy for software[Best Buy]. You may not get to return it at all…
The subject of this article is the lack of disclosure. With the previous version of DNS there was an ‘Essentials’ package that their website never disclosed nor tried to market to the general public [on their website]. It basically never existed unless you stumbled across it [I never found it at Fry’s, Best Buy, etc…] The essentials package was only $30. I found a rare copy at Target [Call local Target and ask for item# DCPI: 201-00-0169]. It did everything I needed it to do and I was very happy with it.
$30 is a far cry bargain from $99. Now, I have used DNS since v6. Being able to find a copy of this program at that price made me buy it on the spot, but when version 10 came out, I couldn’t find it. It’s not on their website. It’s not in their product comparison chart. It’s completely hidden like the last version. Why are they hiding it?
This package, if well marketed, would be more popular, but the way Nuance is handling the whole thing it reminds me of the article of AT&T supposing to offer DSL at $10 a month, but it was so convoluted from their website no one ever signed up for it [here it is BTW]. AT&T said it was discontinued because no one wanted that level of service; the issue was more like they didn’t market it at all, and made it damn hard to sign up for, even when you found it.
If anything were to benefit from more memory and 64bit processing it would be DNS, but in the 6+ years that 64 bit Operating Systems have been on the market they have chosen to ignore those users. Instead they are waiting to be encapsulated with fiery requests before they grab the water hose.
Here’s an upsetting fact, Nuance isn’t offering this essentials package to everyone from their website and they don’t offer to tell you which stores you can find it. The people that need packages like this normally have some sort of disability or handicap that keeps them from performing textual tasks. Nuance is turning their back on these customer by not offering this package. Disenfranchising those customers, pushing them away, holding back on people who have paid [in their eyes] lots of money to use this product.
Lastly, are they going to care about you Vista 64 users which seem to be so proliferate in the market now? 64 bit processors are common now. Do they care they have locked you in to Windows XP or Vista 32? Do they care about the money you spent on their software and are they going to try to offer a solution? Are they going start offering all the software packages in the open and when you do a product comparison; how about listing all the products? It’ll be interesting to find out.
As of the time of this article you still can’t buy DNS v10 Essentials from the company website and DNS v10 is not 64 bit compliant, but Jessica from Nuance CS says they are working on it. I am sure that’s help all those people that can’t do what they need to because Nuance failed to plan and act.