Vlingo: Control Android via Voice Commands

Have you ever been driving, and needed to use your phone in any way? Maybe you need to make a call, send a text message, use navigation to find the place you are going to… Using your phone when driving is dangerous. But now, thanks to the Vlingo Corporation, you can do all of these things, without touching your phone!

The Android Market never ceases to amaze me. A few weeks ago I found myself looking for a better way of replying to text messages I receive while driving. I’ve tried almost everything – even the apps that automatically reply to the person sending the message with a preset message. But they all lacked the ability to read the text that you receive before replying to it. If there is a change of plans, or something urgent happens to where I need to be notified, I’d like to know ASAP. That’s when I found Vlingo Virtual Assistant.

After downloading the app I found out quickly that it isn’t just set out to prevent texting and driving; upon reading the first time use tutorial, I was incredibly impressed. At one point I found myself saying “wow” aloud in a mixture of amazement and awe.

Vlingo's Main Screen

The app is pretty straightforward with a big blue button that says “Tap & Speak”. The interface is very smooth and well polished, making it very nice to use. When tapping on the button, you are greeted with a pop-up window that says “Listening”. I remember saying something along the lines of “Send text to Mom… Hey this Vlingo app is really cool!” and my message was displayed on the screen in seconds. Vlingo then repeated my message to me, and asked if I wished to send it.

After sending the message I got a reply back saying “What app?”. Vlingo, once again, read the text to me, and I was able to reply without ever touching my phone. Now if this isn’t enough to get you to try this app, there are many more features that are available with Vlingo Virtual Assistant.

Features

  • Call anyone in your contact list
  • Find numbers for people or places not in your contact list
  • Send a text message
  • Perform a Google search
  • Navigate to almost anywhere
  • Make hotel reservations
  • Buy movie tickets
  • Open apps you have installed on your phone
  • Update your Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter accounts
  • Send an email

And that’s all from the main screen!

Examples of commands Vlingo can recognise

Taking a deeper look into the app you will see that Vlingo comes packaged with an “InCar Beta” mode. When this is switched on, Vlingo constantly listens for a key phrase which lets it know that you’re ready to speak your command. By saying “Hey Vlingo!” you will be prompted with a “What would you like to do?” (This can be changed to set a custom response in the settings area; I have mine set to a simple, “Yes?”) After tweaking some settings you can have Vlingo automatically open and start “InCar Beta” mode by just connecting to a Bluetooth connection. By simply saying “Hey Vlingo!” the “InCar Beta” will ask you what you want to do.

You can say things like…

  • Send text message to Mom… Hey, I’m gonna be a little late for dinner
  • Navigate to… (insert destination here)
  • Call… John on mobile
  • Ask a simple question like… “How many feet are in a yard?”

You may wonder, “what if I receive a message while I’m driving?” Well, Vlingo will take care of that for you. When you receive a new message, Vlingo uses “SafeReader” mode to read to you the sender’s name and the message itself. After Vlingo has finished reading the message, you can say, “Hey Vlingo!, reply to John…” and reply to the message. All without even touching your phone!

InCar Beta

Not only is this app incredibly useful, intuitive and downright fun to use, but this application enables people to drive safer. Letting people send text messages, search for a number, and navigate to a destination by voice allows people to keep their eyes on the road, and not on their phones.

The Developers over at the Vlingo Corporation have put a lot of time into this well-polished app. I’ve been blown away with the possibilities of this app and can’t wait for the next update. After using it for about a month, I can say without a shred of a doubt, that this is by far the best voice command app out there. You should definitely give it a try.

Summary

Vlingo Virtual Assistant by the Vlingo Corporation is one of the best apps I’ve ever used, and I’m sure I will continue to use it for a long time to come. There is an occasional bug that an upcoming update should fix. Also, keep in mind that the “InCar Beta” is in Beta. Although I have only had one or two problems with it, there are definitely some improvements that can be made. The Vlingo Virtual Assistant is available in the Android Market for free, so you have nothing to lose by trying it out.


Summary

Vlingo Virtual Assistant allows you to control your Android Device using only your voice! Requires Android 2.1.

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