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Olympus Announces Consumer Mobile Digital Voice Recorder

Olympus America Inc., Digital & Imaging Systems Group, a leading consumer electronics manufacturer, today announced the release of the DS-150 Digital Voice Recorder. The DS-150 is an easy-to-use digital voice recorder with the longest recording time in the industry—over 2 hours. The DS-150 is one of the slimmest, most compact recorders ever produced. It comes complete with the award-winning IBM ViaVoice '98 speech recognition software for easy speech-to-text conversion in a PC—all for the groundbreaking price of $199.

The DS-150 is the second generation of Olympus award-winning digital voice recorders with speech recognition. The D1000, released in June of 1998, has won numerous industry awards for its enhancement of the mobile office, including the coveted PC Computing MVP Award, November 1998; Popular Mechanics, Editor's Choice Award, January 1999; and Popular Science, "Best of What's New," November 11, 1997.

The DS-150 uses 8 MB of built-in memory for up to 160 minutes of recording time. This can actually be stretched to a longer recording time with the DS-150's Variable Control Voice Actuator (VCVA) technology, which automatically stops recording when the microphone senses silence and restarts when it senses sound. Downloading speech files to a PC is quick and easy. Simply connect the recorder to your computer with the provided serial or optional USB data transfer kit and select the files to download. The Olympus DS-150 is the first recorder to offer USB download capability.

Two folders are used with the DS-150 to store up to 99 messages per folder. Messages can be moved from one folder to another for easy organization. The DS-150 has two recording modes, SP mode (with 75 minutes available recording time) when speech-to-text applications are used; and LP mode (with 160 minutes available recording time) when a long recording time is needed. An LCD display is provided to check remaining recording time, the date & amp; time, voice activation mode, play mode (SP/LP), and battery status. The DS-150 has a Microphone Sensitivity Selector, voice activation for hands-free recording and powerful editing capabilities such as insert, delete and partial erase.

Olympus uses compact .DSS (Digital Speech Standard) files, which are 13 to 28 times smaller than standard .WAV sound files, and are optimized for speech recognition applications. DSS files are also ideal for sending e-mail to colleagues and friends. The included Olympus DSS Player software quickly reads these files and allows IBM ViaVoice to automatically convert them into text with one mouse click. Transcription can also be done manually with an optional transcription accessory kit including a footswitch and headset. Users can download the entire contents of the recorder, one specific folder or even one specific recording.

IBM ViaVoice speech recognition technology quickly "learns" your speech patterns in a few sentences. Recordings can be converted to text at a faster speed than recordings dictated directly into the PC.

"Olympus was the first company to provide speech recognition software with a digital voice recorder and we have been recognized as such by numerous industry awards," said Michael Handa, Assistant Division Manager, Olympus America, Digital & Imaging Systems Group. "With the DS-150, the usability and accuracy of our recorders has become even better. Whether used along with speech recognition software, or used as a standalone digital recorder, the DS-150 is a powerful tool for business as well as consumer applications. With a price of $199, the DS-150 will attract a much larger group of consumers and increase the awareness of this exciting segment of the speech recognition industry."

"We see speech as a fundamental, natural extension of today's computing environment," said Patty McHugh, director of new business development, IBM Speech Systems. "Mobile workers can now capture their thoughts via speech in handheld recorders like the DS-150. Through the power of IBM's ViaVoice technology, dictated e-mails or letters are then transcribed to their PC, transforming voice into data."

The DS-150 will be available in June 1999 for an expected street price of $199. It comes with everything needed for automatic speech-to-text document creation, including IBM ViaVoice software, DSS Player 3.0 software, KP3 serial download cable, KP4 "voice training" cable, headset microphone, external earphone, hand strap, and two AAA batteries.

For more information, contact Olympus America, Digital & Imaging Systems Group, Two Corporate Center Dr., Melville, NY 11747-3157, ph: (516) 844-5000 (800) 347-4027, Fax: (516) 844-5262 or the Olympus Web Site:www.olympus.com/digital. For consumer questions or comments, e-mail us at