One of the things that was great about Windows Mobile back in 2003 was the Voice Command integration that allowed you to press a button on your Bluetooth car kit or headset and tell it to play specific music that was on your device. Somewhere along the line Microsoft lost those very-advanced speech interface capabilities from a decade ago. Thankfully, with Windows Phone 8, Microsoft made a full speech user interface platform that 3rd party developers can plug into and today we’re going to take a look at a 3rd party app called “Hey DJ” which brings voice control of music playback back to Windows Phone.
As with any app that plugs-into the Windows Phone 8 speech UI, all you have to do is press the voice dialing button on your Bluetooth hands-free device (or press and hold the start button on your phone), then say the name of the app followed by the command you want it to perform. It supports most of the commands you’d expect such as, “Hey DJ play artist Joss Stone” or “Hey DJ play genre country”. It even supports a “Surprise me” command that will just play whatever it feels like, and a “Play list…” command for starting playlists that you’ve synced from a PC or have available in your Xbox Music Cloud Collection. It does seem to support playing music from your cloud collection if you are playing something like a genre, but it doesn’t seem to index the cloud collection for artists, albums, or songs. It’s missing commands for stopping or skipping tracks as well, and I miss the “What song is this?” command from the old Windows Mobile Voice Command days that would read aloud the name of the song and artist currently playing.