Two leading makers of Chinese handwriting recognition products say the next trend will be to add voice recognition technology to their systems. 'We aim to develop an integrated voice and handwriting system,' said Derek Ling, Motorola Lexicus' marketing and business development manager in Asia-Pacific. The Lexicus division makes the Wisdom Pen handwriting recognition system. 'It [an integrated device] will first replace a mouse, and then a keyboard, as the most natural and user-friendly input device,' Mr Ling said. However, he believed keyboards would not start being replaced for at least five years. Motorola Lexicus recently upgraded its Wisdom Pen with an elementary voice-recognition function called 'voice macro'. The function allows users to save frequently used words or phrases, such as company addresses, and recall them by saying a word or writing a character or symbol. While Motorola Lexicus would not promise a schedule for unveiling a true integrated system, Taiwan manufacturer Pen Power Technology said it would unveil a new version of its PenPower Chinese handwriting input system with a voice-recognition function in the second half of this year. A demonstration of the PenPower 7.0 would be available at next month's Computer Expo in Hong Kong, said Lo Kwok-keung, market director of Longrand Electronics, PenPower's distributor in Hong Kong. While Wisdom Pen can understand spoken words, the PenPower can both understand and talk to users. After users have written a Chinese character, the computer will show the correct stroke order and pronounce the character in either Cantonese or Putonghua. Wisdom Pen and PenPower are the two most popular handwriting recognition systems in Hong Kong. 'The market is [shared] between us and PenPower,' said Mr Ling. He said there was a market for 150,000 units a year in greater China, half of them in Hong Kong. The SAR presented a greater opportunity than the mainland, which was developing, or Taiwan, where schoolchildren were trained to type in Chinese. Mr Ling expected the worldwide market to grow by 40 to 50 per cent this year and to rocket by 200 per cent after one to two years.