It looks like those early rumors of various voice capabilities in the Wiimote may not have been too far off the mark after all, as a recent CNN/Fortune feature has now revealed that the remote actually contains some of the necessary hardware, although it's so far gone unused. Specifically, the Wiimote packs a $2 chip described as an "audio translator," which CNN says "converts analog data such as human speech into a digital data stream." That would obviously also require a microphone, one of which has already been announced, although that one (designed for use with EA's forthcoming Boogie game) will apparently connect directly to the Wii's USB port, not the Wiimote itself. Still, given what Nintendo's apparently spent on this particular capability, it doesn't seem likely that it'll go unused for too much longer.

[Via Joystiq]

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Unused "audio translator" revealed in Wiimote