Wozniak: Voice recognition is computing's next frontier

The Apple co-founder also analyzes Oracle's acquisition strategy, the tablet space, and new trends in enterprise memory

Look for more robust voice recognition to take hold in the realm of personal computing, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said in a brief interview this week that also touched on tablet computing, Oracle's acquisition strategy, and enterprise memory technology.

Voice recognition will advance by being able to "interpret a wider variety of commands," said Wozniak, at an event in Silicon Valley. Wozniak also lauded Apple's iPad tablet and saw Google Android tablets as Apple's competition rather than anything Microsoft has to offer in the tablet space. As for Windows, Wozniak said he has "too many negative feelings" about Microsoft's OS based on his own experiences with it.

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Wozniak also offered brief perspectives on Oracle's many acquisitions and on Google. "Oracle's acquisitions seem to be more in the category of competing with HP," said Wozniak, a former HP employee himself. He cited Oracle's purchase of Sun Microsystems, a hardware company, to go with Oracle's software business. Google, meanwhile, has a business model fashioned after TV, in which it offers free services and monetizes them with advertising, he said.

For enterprises, meanwhile, Wozniak emphasized as a recent trend the switch to NAND Flash technology from hard disks. Already, one-tenth of Internet traffic comes from NAND flash chips instead of hard disks, said Wozniak, who is chief scientist at Fusion-io, which specializes in NAND flash.

Wozniak, who first left Apple in 1981 and then returned for a spell in the mid-1980s, waxed proudly on what his former company has achieved lately. He cited the successes of the iPhone cell phone, iPod music player, iPad tablet, and Apple's retail and online stores. He did, however, cite Apple TV as a bit of a miss for Apple.

Wozniak appeared Tuesday at a reopening of the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., which touted its Revolution exhibition purportedly covering 2,000 years of computing. The exhibit features devices as far back as the mid-1600s, including Napier's bones, which areĀ  sticks for multiplication.

Dignitaries at the event were asked what it would mean when technology innovation is no longer so concentrated in the United States. "If some other country exceeds in innovation, God bless them," said Al Alcorn, inventor of the Pong video game.

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