Chronicles of a Windows Mobile User Gone Symbian: Part 3
It’s great that the Nokia N95 has all of these awesome media features, but what about the phone part? How is it at making calls?
Well, it’s pretty simple. When you slide out the keypad in the home screen view, you can dial numbers and then press the call send button like you would on any other phone. However, pressing these number buttons does not offer contact matching options or any kind of call prediction. All it does is enter numeric digits! I guess I’m expecting smartphones to be a little smarter about this. Windows Mobile 6 devices immediately list possible contact matches when typing names or numbers from the Today Screen or phone dialer. With the Nokia N95, instead you have to navigate to the Contacts program, then start typing a name using the numeric keypad (without predictive text)… then press the call send button to make the call. I guess people expect most phones to work that way, but it could be much easier as seen in Windows Mobile 6. I won’t even compare this to trying to find a contact on an iPhone which does not include any kind of contact search capability at all. Okay, maybe I will… on the iPhone you have to tap the phone icon, the contacts button, flick-scroll for five minutes to find the person you’re looking for, tap their name, then tap their number to make the call. All while looking at the screen since there’s no tactile feedback and no way to build motor memory.
Getting back to the Symbian world… this archaic way of calling people might seem like a show-stopper to someone considering switching from Windows Mobile. Fortunately, developers are allowed to create programs for the Symbian OS in order to pick up where Nokia leaves off. Enter SkyeQuiKey! This little program adds that great predictive dialing feature to Symbian S60 (in addition to a few other great features). All Symbian users should buy this program. It’s a huge improvement for easily calling people in your address book. Thanks to Rita El Khoury of DotSisx for pointing out this gem to me. Now with that installed, I can slide open the keypad, start typing a name with the keypad (whose buttons I can feel without having to look at them), quickly glance at the screen to make sure I selected the right name, and press the call button.
Now some of you are saying, “I don’t even need to do that. I just use Microsoft Voice Command on Windows Mobile.” Well, the N95 does support voice dialing as well as a few other voice commands with no need to train it! That’s right, just like Microsoft’s Voice Command it’s got real voice recognition. It does not seem to be as accurate or as capable out-of-the-box however. I haven’t seen any commands for accessing your calendar, battery level, or controlling the media player. It does create automatic “voice tags” for all of your contacts based on text-to-speech names. So when you press the voice call button on your Bluetooth headset, you’ll hear a sound exactly like Microsoft Voice Command’s sound, then you say the name of the person you want to call. A text-to-speech voice will repeat what you said (hopefully it’s the correct name) and then it will dial that person. I tried saying “No” after the voice confirmation, but it dialed anyway. You can also set up voice commands for launching applications. A few are created by default for changing profiles, toggling Bluetooth, calling voicemail, opening the voice recorder, and launching the camera. The voice activated voice recorder function is quite nice. You can easily record voice memos from your Bluetooth headset. I didn’t expect such a quality voice recognition program to be included with the N95 by default. I really thought it would be just regular voice tags that you have to record for each person. Anyway, that was a great surprise. Does anyone know of some even more feature rich voice command programs for the Symbian S60 3rd Edition devices? Is there any way for it to voice recognize a destination request in the GPS Mapping program?