With apps like Siri and Google Voice Actions, people are getting more and more vocal with their handsets. You could argue that the digital age has made human conversations much less personal, as we are no longer required to communicate with our friends and family vocally. Luckily, there are some fantastic apps that let us use our voice to get a little closer. Here are the five most popular ones.
This app essentially turns your phone into a walkie-talkie, allowing such communication with any person you have in your phone contacts or as a Facebook friend (as long as they also have the app installed). A great feature of this app is the ability to talk to more than one person at once; you can bring multiple users into a group and all of the users will receive the messages. It transmits messages over your data connection so it won’t use any of your plan’s minutes or text messages.
What’s really great about this app is that it is supported on Android and iOS, and that it doesn’t matter which OS the other user is using as long as they have the app installed. In practice, it’s the exact same thing as a walkie-talkie. You launch the app, select the contact you wish to talk to, press the button, and talk. Thats it! The person will then hear a beep followed by your message. In addition to voice messages, you can also chat with the person using text, and the app will organize all your texts and voices messages into one convenient thread. The one thing to be aware of is that this app will transmit a message no matter what – so if your friend is sitting in class or at work and they don’t have his or her phone silenced, then they will hear your voice coming from their pocket.
This app takes the features offered by TiKL Talk and steps it up a notch. It packs all the great walkie-talkie features while wrapping it up in a much more pleasant user interface. One feature that gives HeyTell an edge over the competition is Google Maps integration: HeyTell allows you to see where all your messages were sent from. It also gives you the ability to adjust your privacy; you can choose whether to limit who can sent you a message. A really cool feature that makes this app rise above the rest is that it can toggle between the phone’s speaker and the headset earpiece. This allows you to hear a voice message as if you were on speaker-phone, if you prefer.
Like TiKL Talk, HeyTell is accessible whether you’re on Android or iOS. However, HeyTell acts more like a SMS program that has a voice feature. It allows you to add pictures and text, but the voice messages are not instantaneous like in TiKL. HeyTell is not a true “push to talk” application.
Talkbox Voice Messenger takes all of the great features of HeyTell and TiKL Talk and wraps them in an even more impressive user interface. This elegant app could absolutely be your one stop location for texting, picture messaging, and voice messaging. The only thing keeping this app from completely replacing a standard SMS app is that, like its competitors, it transmits messages over data instead of using SMS. This will not be a problem if all of your friends have a smartphone and are using Talkbox as well.
Packing real time push-to-talk, text messaging, and picture messaging all into a beautiful interface, Talkbox Voice Messenger is the clear cut winner of the three walkie-talkie apps.
This is an app that lets you have a little fun by changing your voice. All you do is record a sound clip using your voice, then select and effect, and Ultra Voice Changer will play it back to you. It has a variety of different voice effects, including alien, backwards, chipmunk, deep, helium, possessed, echo, bee, hyper, and slow motion – each as creepy and disturbing as the last.
The app lets you save the voice recording so you can send it to a friend or set it as a ringtone if you would like. There is also a deluxe version for $2.00 that will give you an additional 11 voices: more robot voices and effects like foreign languages.
Requires: Android 1.6 and up
Market Link: Ultra Voice Changer
The Babelfish Voice suite is a speech-to-speech translator. All you do is talk into your phone’s microphone, and Babelfish will spit out the translation. This is a great tool if you are traveling to another country and don’t have any other means of communicating. It is also a fantastic tool if you are interested in learning a foreign language because you can figure out how phrases in English are said in another language.
Babelfish comes in many different languages, such as, Spanish, Italian, French, German, Russian, Simple Chinese, Portuguese, Polish, Dutch, and Traditional Chinese. Babelfish has been a trusted source of language translation for quite awhile. While no translation service is perfect, Babelfish is absolutely the best speech-to-speech translation service out there.
Requires: Android 1.6 and up
Market Link: Babelfish Voice Suite
Lately there seems to be a big shift in the desire to interact with our technology vocally. After years of texting and emails turning handsets into portable keyboards, perhaps voice apps can bring back actually talking to your phone.