These tricks are quite useful, but it surprises me how relatively unpublished and unknown they are.
What's This All About?
I'm sure you can think of a situation where having some sort of a pause in a phone number could save quite a bit of time, as you could program the whole sequence once and never enter it manually again.
For example, I have a calling card which asks me a whole bunch of information, like the language I want the menu in, my account and pin, and the phone number I want to dial.
All these things would be a huge pain to enter every time, and without having any kind of pausing mechanism, they would get sent prematurely.
Enter hard and soft pauses.
A hard pause is a pause that will wait for your confirmation to send the rest of the digits when reached.
You can use it when there is an undefined amount of time that can pass before sending the numbers would do anything. For example, if you are calling a company directory which can take anywhere from 1 to 10 seconds to pick up before you can enter an extension, you want to use a Hard Pause.
For example, if you want to dial extension 1337 after calling 555-555-5555 which requires you to press 1 to dial by extension, enter
555-555-5555 w 1 w 1337
To add a hard pause, pull up a contact, switch to the alphabet mode, and enter w.
Update: a semicolon ; seems to be equivalent to w. Thanks to everyone who reported this.
A soft pause will pause dialing for 2-3 seconds and then carry on automatically.
For example, my calling card number always picks up within 1 second and accepts input after another 3, so I can enter the number like this:
555-999-9999 pp 123456
To add a soft pause, you enter a letter p.
Update: a comma , seems to be equivalent to p. Thanks to everyone who reported this.
And this is how this pie is baked, folks.
By the way, for those wondering, p and w are the only 2 letters Android allows in a phone number - the others simply cannot be entered, to avoid confusion.
Note: you cannot enter pauses in the dialer - it has to be done while editing a contact in your People app.