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No way this transcription gizmo is as good as it claims to be

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(Though we’d love it if it was)

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Transcription gadgets seem to be having a bit of a moment right now. We’ve seen a couple devices in the last few months that promise to make your life easier by seamlessly transcribing phone calls, meetings, and lectures, and then syncing the results to mobile and desktop devices.

The latest in the genre is called Titan Note and it is currently raising funds on Indiegogo. As well as doing all of the above, it functions as a “crystal clear speaker,” an emergency battery for your mobile, and can distinguish who’s speaking when transcribing multiple voices — something Amazon hasn’t even managed (yet) with the Echo. A glossy video ad even shows it working in a tricky environment like a large lecture hall.

It looks impressive, but excuse us if we’re just a tiny bit skeptical here.

Just think: do the transcription features in iOS and Android function seamlessly? Hell no, and that’s with all of Apple and Google’s money and their AI expertise. And does the Echo always work at a distance or in a noisy environment? Again, no, and that’s with seven microphones inside a product the size of a roll of paper towels. By comparison, the Titan Notes unit is as big as a pencil sharpener, meaning far less space for microphones and supporting tech. In summary, here’s my “I doubt the viability of your crowdfunding project” face, courtesy of Titan Note’s list of use cases:

[Original image removed because of DMCA notice, but imagine the above stock Getty photo with the tagline “Transcribing your own thoughts” and you get the idea]

The makers of Titan Note may be exaggerating their product’s functionality, but we do wish a transcription gadget as easy to use as this really existed. It’d be handy in a number of situations — especially for a journalist. Hopefully, we can get our hands on a Titan Note unit and tests its claims for ourselves.

Update: The images from Titan Note’s Indiegogo campaign have been removed due to a DMCA Notice. We would provide further notes on the subject, but no device exists to suitably transcribe our real feelings about having to deal with this ridiculous situation into words. - Dieter Bohn, Executive Editor.