Microsoft Voice Command v1.50

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WHAT’S HOT

   My favorite new features in Microsoft Voice Command
1.5 are the added options for announcing incoming callers, and the "Phone
Status" commands support. With the Caller ID announcement, you
no longer have to look at the screen in order to tell who’s calling.
Granted, IA Caller ID which comes pre-installed allows me to set custom
ring tones to each caller, but that means I’d have to set it up and
I’d have to remember what ring tone goes with what caller.  With
text-to-speech Caller ID, it simply tells me who’s calling in plain
English.

   
The Phone Status commands are also quite useful. For
example, instead of tapping Start>Settings>Power in
order to see my battery life, I just activate Voice
Command and say "What is my battery life?" 
Voice Command responds with "The battery life is
78%."

SETUP

   The application only needs to
be installed into main memory on the Pocket PC. Be
forewarned however, you’ll need about 7Mb of storage
space. Also make sure you have plenty of available
program memory as this application will need it when
enabled.

PROGRAM FEATURES

   First off,
you need to figure out how to start Voice Command.
After installation, the only thing you’ll find is a
Voice Command Settings icon. 

     Well, it also took over
your Calendar hardware button! So tap the Buttons
control panel in the Settings window and see which
button Voice Command is configured as.

Press the Voice Command hardware
button and the above microphone icon will appear in
your menu bar along with an audible tone indicating
that Voice Command is listening. Now you can speak
your commands.

    It’s important that you
read the Help file that comes with the Microsoft
Voice Command software. Voice command can only
recognize certain wording when it’s listening for a
command. If you’re not getting the results you
expect, maybe you’re saying the wrong thing and
Voice Command doesn’t understand.

    Here’s some highlights of what you can say copied
from the Help file.

Phone Commands

  • Call <contact>
    to call a contact whose phone number is
    stored on your device.
  • Call <contact>
    at/on <location>
    to call a
    contact at a specific phone number.
  • Dial <number>
    to dial a phone number.
  • Callback
    to return the last call received.
  • Redial
    to repeat the last call made.

Contact Commands


  • Show <contact>
  • Lookup <contact>

    to display a contact.
Calendar Appointments

  • What’s my next
    appointment?
    to hear the next
    upcoming appointment.
  • What’s my
    schedule today?
    to hear
    today’s upcoming appointments.
  • What’s my
    schedule tomorrow?
    to hear
    appointments for tomorrow.
  • Reminders On
    to enable reminder announcements.
  • Reminders Off
    to disable reminder announcements.
  • What’s my next meeting?
  • What are my appointments (today)?
  • What are my meetings (today)?
  • What’s my schedule (today)?
  • What’s my calendar (today)?
  • What’s my calendar for today?

  • What are my appointments tomorrow?
  • What are my meetings tomorrow?
  • What’s my calendar for tomorrow?
  • What’s my schedule tomorrow?

Listening to music

  • Play anything
    to play all media.
  • Play music
    to have Voice Command guide you through
    selecting music.
    (Variant:
    Play
    media
    ).
  • Play album,
    to choose from available albums.
    (Also:
    Play artist
    and Play genre).
  • Play <album>
    to listen a specific album.
    (Also:
    Play <artist>,
    Play <genre> and
    Play album by <artist>).
  • Next Track,
    Previous Track, Play, Pause
    ,
    or Stop
    to control Windows Media.
  • Turn Shuffle
    On
    to play tracks randomly.

    (Also: Turn
    Shuffle Off
    ).
  • What song is
    this?
    to hear about the
    current track.
    (Variant:
    What
    track is this?
    ).

Starting Applications 

  • Start <program>
    to start or switch to a program.


  • Show <program>
  • Open <program>

Phone Status

  • What time is it?
    to hear the current time.
  • What date is it?
    to hear the current date.
  • What is my battery
    level?
    to hear the current
    battery level.
  • Turn flight mode
    on
    to turn on flight mode and
    disable all wireless radios including
    Bluetooth, WIFI and cellular phone.
  • Turn flight mode
    off
    to turn off flight mode and
    restore the previous state of all wireless
    radios including Bluetooth, WIFI and
    cellular phone.

The following require a Pocket PC Phone Edition
or Smartphone

  • What is my signal
    strength?
    to hear the current
    state of the phone on the network.
  • What calls have I
    missed?
  • What missed calls
    do I have?
    to hear each missed
    call and reset the missed call count.
  • Set Ringer High
  • Set Ringer Loud
    to set ringer volume to 5
  • Set Ringer Medium
  • Set Ringer Middle
    to set ringer volume to 3
  • Set Ringer Low
  • Set Ringer Soft
    to set ringer volume to 1
  • Set Ringer Quiet
  • Set Ringer Off
  • Set Ringer Mute
    to set ringer volume to off
  • Set Ringer Vibrate
    to set ringer to vibrate

 

    In addition to the commands
you can say, Voice Command also offers some other
excellent options available from the Voice Commands
Settings control panel

Here you can choose to enable
certain aspects of the Voice Command application.

A great feature in the Calendar
options is to let it dictate your appointment titles
as they occur. This way you don’t have to look at
the screen to read your reminder, just listen to
what it says.

Voice Command can also announce
incoming calls by dictating the caller ID name or
incoming phone number. This is a great feature since
again, you don’t have to look at your screen to see
who’s calling. That means your Pocket PC Phone can
sit on the dashboard in your car while playing music
in the stereo, and when an incoming call is received
the caller’s name is announced on your car speakers.
Press the answer button on your bluetooth headset
and start talking. I like this caller ID method much
better than having to go th
rough each contact and
make a special ring-tone specific to each person.

    Here’s some videos to see and hear
how Voice Command works.



Music, Phone Status



Appointments


HELP SUPPORT

    Unlike other programs
where you can usually skip the Help file and figure
it out on your own, the Voice Command Help file is
very important since it tells you exactly what
wording and wording variations it will be able to
understand. Once you figure out what language Voice
Command can process, it will be very useful.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

   

Microsoft Voice Command requires a Pocket PC or
Pocket PC Phone Edition running Windows Mobile 2003,
Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition, or Windows
Mobile 2005. You also need Microsoft ActiveSync 3.7
or later installed along with at least 7MB of free
memory on the Pocket PC.

BUGS AND WISHES

   
The biggest problem with Microsoft Voice Command 1.5
on my imate JAM with Windows Mobile 2003SE is that I
can’t activate it from a Bluetooth headset. If it
were possible to press a button on my bluetooth
headset to activate Voice Command, it would be
GOLDEN!  What else would be great is if an
incoming call could connect to my Bluetooth headset,
tell me who’s calling, and then allow me to answer
by pressing the headset button.

     Microsoft Voice Command does not work with any GPS
Navigation software. This is another sorely lacking
feature. If there was a GPS Navigation program that
could respond to Microsoft’s Voice Commands and use
it’s text engine there would be no need to take up
so much memory with other methods.

    
Another strange thing is the way it works with Media
Player. It can only recognize Artist, Album, and
Genre types. It can’t recognize song titles, Video
titles, or TV Program names. Also, when you say
"Play everything" it does play all media including
TV shows and videos… not just music.  It
should have support for specifying, "Play all Music"
or "Play TV". I also wish I could tell it to play a
particular song name.

PURCHASING

   
As a packaged product, Voice Command is available at
CompUSA Inc., Circuit City Stores Inc., Amazon.com
Inc., Fry’s Electronics Inc., Micro Center, J&R
Electronics Inc., and MobilePlanet Inc., as well as
distributors Ingram Micro Inc. and Tech Data Corp.  You can also purchase Microsoft Voice Command as a
download through the
Handango.com
online software store for $39.99. A

demo version
is also available and if you’ve
already purchased Microsoft Voice Command version 1,
you can download the upgrade for free by signing
into the Handango store with your purchase
information.


PROS

  • Control
    many aspects of your Pocket PC with your voice
  • No
    training required

  • Surprisingly accurate voice recognition
  • Works with
    Media Player 10
  • Announces
    incoming caller names

CONS

  • Can’t be
    activated via Bluetooth headset
  • Doesn’t
    work with any GPS Navigation software
  • Expensive
  • No noise
    reduction

OVERALL
IMPRESSION

   Microsoft Voice Command 1.5 is
a half step forward in the evolution of mobile
device voice recognition. The added features are
definitely worth the free upgrade if you already
have purchased Voice Command 1. I think this
software should be party of the Windows Mobile ROM
tho
ugh. It’s an excellent program and is becoming
indispensable for me, especially while driving. I
love being able to control my car stereo’s playlist
by voice recognition. Making phone calls without
taking my eyes off the road is an absolute joy as
well.

    In the future I
hope to see this technology make it into my Windows
XP Media Center remote control. Being able to say
"Play Led Zepplin" instead of scrolling through
hundreds of artists is so much easier.

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About The Author
Adam Z. Lein
Adam has had interests in combining technology with art since his first use of a Koala pad on an Apple computer. He currently has a day job as a graphic designer, photographer, systems administrator and web developer at a small design firm in Westchester, NY. His love of technology extends to software development companies who have often implemented his ideas for usability and feature enhancements. Mobile computing has become a necessity for Adam since his first Uniden UniPro PC100 in 1998. He has been reviewing and writing about smartphones for Pocketnow.com since they first appeared on the market in 2002.Read more about Adam Lein!