IBM and Opera Software Team to Develop Multimodal Browser

XHTML+Voice (X+V) browser allows developers to extend voice, web applications

Vox 2002, San Francisco, CA and Oslo, Norway – July 24, 2002

IBM and Opera today announced that they will jointly develop a multimodal browser based on the XHTML+Voice (X+V) specification. The beta version of the browser, available this fall, can allow access to Web and voice information from a single mobile device.

This project builds upon IBM’s and Opera’s ongoing relationship. In 2001,IBM, Motorola and Opera submitted the multimodal standard X+V to the standards body W3C. This mark-up language leverages existing standards, already familiar to voice and Web developers, so they can use their skills and resources to extend current applications instead of building new ones from the ground up.

Multimodal technology allows the interchangeable use of multiple forms of input and output, such as voice commands, keypads, or stylus — in the same interaction. As computing moves away from keyboard-reliant PCs into devices such as handheld computers and cellular phones, multimodal technology becomes increasingly important. This technology will allow end-users to interact with technology in ways that are most suitable to the situation. For example, multimodal applications bring tremendous benefits to field force automation. Off-site workers will be able to request inventory information by voice, for instance, when they’re on the factory floor and need to access information – hands-free. The information can then come back to them in text, or as graphics.

“IBM and Opera Software are collaborating in developing speech technologyby providing the tools necessary for multimodal applications,” says Jon S.von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software ASA. “We look forward to seeing how this multimodal browser will help shape the evolution of the mobile and wireless computing as we move into this next phase of e-business.”

“As we move further into the pervasive computing model, where our phones,handhelds and even cars become our gateways to information access, theability to interact with technology in the most natural and convenient waypossible will be key,” said Rod Adkins, General Manager, IBM PervasiveComputing Division. “Together with Opera, one of the leading providers ofbrowser technology, IBM aims to build an interface that will allowtechnology to adapt to end-users, rather than forcing them to adapt totechnology.”

This is the latest in a series of moves IBM is making in multimodaltechnology. Last week, IBM announced its multimodal toolkit for developersand the planned addition of multimodal capabilities to its recentlyannounced WebSphere Everyplace Access (WEA). Built on IBM’s WebSphere VoiceToolkit, the multimodal toolkit will contain a multimodal editor, in whichdevelopers can write both XHTML and VoiceXML in the same application;reusable blocks of X+V code; and a simulator to test the applications.Additionally, the toolkit adds Eclipse-based plug-ins to a web developer’sexisting WebSphere Studio development environment. WEA enables access toenterprise data and applications from a wide range of mobile devices. Theaddition of X+V-based multimodal capability to WEA allows users to accessbusiness applications such as databases and Customer RelationshipInformation applications via multimodal devices.

Also in his keynote speech at the Vox conference today, Adkins urged thevoice industry to introduce tools to make voice and multimodal developmenteasier. “We don’t make it easy to develop for voice,” he said. “Voice XML was a good start in standardizing the programming language and tags. Now, let’s go the next step further, and do the same for how we build the user interface and dialogues.”

Adkins added that tools such as reusable dialog components — chunks ofcode that can be used to build applications to different industries– wouldhelp greatly to ease voice and multimodal development. “A developer shouldbe able to use the same block of code to build a credit card applicationfor retail as he’d use for a travel application,” he said.

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About Opera Software

Opera Software ASA is an industry leader in the development of Webbrowsers for the desktop and embedded markets, partnering withcompanies such as IBM, AMD, Symbian, Canal+ Technologies, Ericsson,Sharp and Lineo (now a division of Embedix). The Opera browser hasreceived international recognition from end users and the industrypress for being faster, smaller and more standards-compliant than other browsers. Opera is available on Windows, Mac, Linux/Solaris, OS/2, Symbian OS and QNX. Opera Software ASA is a privately held company headquartered in Oslo, Norway. Learn more about Opera at

About IBM Pervasive Computing

IBM is the world’s leading e-business company offering a wide range of services, solutions and technologies that help businesses take full advantage of emerging innovation. IBM’s pervasive computing and mobile Internet strategy is to extend e-business applications to the new class of connected client devices. This involves building, deploying and developing mobile applications by partnering with key players like QUALCOMM, Ericsson, Intel, Motorola, Nokia, RIM and Palm; developing groundbreaking initiatives to set open industry standards; and deploying a Business Innovation Services team with hundreds of wireless Consultants. IBM also makes chips for a wide range of devices from the world’s most powerful computers to the smallest cell phones. IBM can be found on the Web at

IBM and WebSphere are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States and/ or other countries. All statements regarding IBM’s future direction or intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only.

IBM Pervasive Computing

Geraldine Kan
Tel: 1-914-766-3284 (IBM tie-line 826-3284)
Cell: 1-917-478-5148