Since Vlingo first introduced its voice control app for the BlackBerry more than a year and a half ago, smartphones and voice-to-speech technology have evolved quite a bit. Today, the company has launched a pretty major update to its iPhone app, adding the ability to send e-mail and SMS messages, plus a redesigned new interface.
When Vlingo was first released for the iPhone back in December 2008, the voice-to-text market was still pretty small for mobile devices. Sure, Google’s iPhone app introduced voice search, but the market in general was pretty small.
That’s not the case anymore. Dragon Search, Dragon Dictation, Bing for the iPhone and Siri are all recent voice-to-text applications that can offer some of the similar functionality as Vlingo. The big difference is that Vlingo lets you do more from within a single application.
You don’t have to open up a new or different app to do a web search, send an e-mail or SMS or update Twitter or Facebook, you can do it all within one app.
Check out this video that Vlingo put together to show off the new features in Vlingo for iPhone:
The interface for Vlingo has been totally revamped and it is now much more streamlined and easier to select what you want to do. Moreover, corrections work better too.
Bing joins Google and Yahoo as an option for doing voice-activated web searches — and you can select your default search engine but still search using another search engine if you so choose. Just say “Bing movie times Alice in Wonderland Atlanta” for instance.
SMS and E-mail
SMS and e-mail have long been part of the BlackBerry application but are just now coming to Vlingo for iPhone. The implementation is solid. You can create a text or e-mail by speaking the message type and then your contact name — Vlingo uses your address book to find your contacts. So I could say, “Email Grant, Subject Dinner, Message Pick something up” and an e-mail would be created with those parameters.
The voice recognition is pretty good — in my own tests, Dragon’s apps still set the standard — but I was able to do much of what I needed on Vlingo with little correction.
I spoke with Hadley Harris, the VP of consumer business at Vlingo and he told me that the application gets better as you go. As it starts to learn your voice and your accent, the applications accuracy rate improves. Moreover, Vlingo can tap into its entire network of users to learn new words or names.
While Facebook and Twitter updates, maps and web searches remain free in Vlingo for iPhone, if you want to use the new e-mail or SMS feature, you need to purchase it via an in-app upgrade. The features are $6.99 individually or $9.99 if you buy both together. That’s not bad when you consider how much you can do with the app — though we do wish a more generic “to-do” feature also existed for making quick notes.
You can download Vlingo for the iPhone for free and try out the included features to see if you want to then upgrade to e-mail and SMS. Hadley told me that an Android version of Vlingo is also in the works.
Voice-to-text apps are improving at a startling rate and Vlingo is unique in its convergence of multiple functions into one application.
Do you use any voice-to-text apps? Let us know!
March 5, 2010 by 1 Comment
Send E-mail and SMS Messages Using Voice Commands With Vlingo for iPhone