Some people with developer Windows Phone 7 devices have not quite discovered this feature yet, but voice recognition is embedded into most Windows Phone 7 functions. WP7 comes with the service powered by TellMe, one of the largest cloud-based voice recognition platforms currently active. This provides immediate voice pattern recognition with a level of accuracy that is unparalleled. On top of that, you can’t really tell whether it’s calling an online web service or not, although because it is a “cloud-based” service, it really is going out to the cloud to recognize my voice.
You can easily access this service by pressing and holding the start key. This shows a screen that indicates the phone is “listening”. You then say something like “Call Joe Mobile”, “Open OneNote”, etc and the phone executes exactly what you indicated.
The most useful actions to ask of the phone are:
- “Call <contact name> <phone type>” where contact name can be a first name, last name or both and phone type can be mobile, home, work, etc.
- “<search item> in <city> <state>” where search item is what you want to search for (i.e. coffee shops, etc), followed by “in” and then the name of the city and the state where you are searching that item. i.e. “Coffee Shops in Boca Raton Florida”. This pops up Bing search with the search items and location you indicated.
- “Open <application name>” where the application name is the text identifying the application icon in your app list. As long as you have that application installed, it will launch the right one, no matter how obscure the name of that application is.
There are many other actions and possible combinations to use with the Microsoft TellMe service. In all cases it took no more than 1 or 2 seconds to successfully recognize what was being said. While the request is being executed and the voice is being recognized, the screen shows a “thinking” animation that has some garbled text moving around until the text interpreted is displayed… all in all the process is very quick and surprisingly accurate.
This service seems to work very well and it makes so much more sense to use with a phone while driving a car. You won’t need to take you eyes from the road simply because you are now having a conversation with your Windows Phone.