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Spansion Advances Voice-Enabled Electronics with New Human Machine Interface Coprocessor

Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE), a leading innovator in Flash memory solutions for embedded markets, today unveiled the Spansion® Acoustic Coprocessor, the industry's first human machine interface (HMI) coprocessor that enables voice-controlled system interfaces. Leveraging Nuance Communications' (NASDAQ: NUAN) voice technology, the new product is ideal for voice recognition systems in automotive, gaming and consumer electronics, significantly improving response time and accuracy over conventional voice interfaces by supporting larger acoustic databases.  Spansion Acoustic Coprocessor comprises custom-designed logic and high-speed memory to accelerate and optimize voice-enabled human machine interfaces, while offloading the acoustic processing workload from a conventional CPU.

As electronics become increasingly intelligent and interactive, human interfaces such as voice, image and gesture are emerging to meet the growing consumer demand for faster, more engaging access to information. To date, user interfaces have relied on generic hardware and software. Spansion Acoustic Coprocessor is the first application-specific approach that integrates custom-designed logic and hardware with Nuance's VoCon® software engine, and provides a dedicated resource for natural user interfaces such as voice.

"Spansion is integrating Nuance's technology in a unique way to give automotive manufacturers an especially powerful platform," said Michael Thompson, executive vice president and general manager of the Nuance Mobile Division. "Specialized coprocessors can make voice interactions exceptionally fast, more natural, and even more accurate."

"Advances in voice recognition that take us closer to Natural Language Understanding are critical for the automotive market," said Chris Schreiner, director of Automotive Consumer Insights for Strategy Analytics.  "More and more automakers are incorporating voice recognition interfaces into vehicles to manage both mobile connectivity as well as aid driver safety.  Improvements in accuracy and latency, such as those gained through innovations like the Spansion Acoustic Coprocessor, can provide big benefits to the consumer and change the way we interact with our vehicles."

Spansion Acoustic Coprocessor leverages Spansion's proven technology and leadership in enabling instant-on response, high reliability and performance across a range of embedded applications. Benchmark results demonstrate that with the Spansion Acoustic Coprocessor, system response improves by 50 percent over typical systems using an application processor alone.  The load on the application processor lowers by up to 50 percent, freeing it for other tasks. In addition, the Spansion Acoustic Coprocessor is able to support larger databases with multi-lingual, gender and tonal sounds, which in turn improves accuracy and advances natural language understanding.

Michael Palma, IDC senior research analyst, Semiconductors added, "In today's computing devices, the CPU handles everything from high-speed Internet access and HD video to 3D navigation and voice recognition, creating a bottleneck of both processing power and memory bandwidth. Using an application-specific coprocessor to handle acoustic scoring can dramatically improve system responsiveness and latency of voice recognition systems while giving the CPU more capacity to focus on other resource-intensive applications, enabling a better user experience across the board."

Spansion's first implementation is in the automotive market where voice is providing a safer, smarter way to stay connected behind the wheel, minimizing visual-manual distractions posed by handheld devices. The Spansion demo platform, which integrates Spansion's technology and Nuance voice recognition software, is currently being evaluated by major automotive manufacturers, with design samples available in the third quarter of this year.

"As human and machine interaction proliferates, the need for a more natural user interface is emerging with voice taking the lead," said Ali Pourkeramati, senior vice president of strategic alliances and business development at Spansion. "Our new acoustic coprocessor product reinforces our strategy to deliver value-add systems capabilities that will drive differentiation for our customers' products and inspire widespread adoption of connected, intelligent devices. Leveraging our automotive and embedded memory leadership, we have architected a new system platform that can quickly read and analyze data and take the user experience to a new level."

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