Android's voice capabilities have always impressed me, giving me the ability to speak to my phone instead of spending time typing. Raising the bar a bit, Google introduced us tonight to live speech-to-text, making message dictation faster and more streamlined than ever.


Android's new speech-to-text functionality happens completely live, as we saw in tonight's demo. As soon as you start talking, your phone begins typing. It will even wait for you if you take a pause, and add emoticons and punctuation per your request.

What's more, this feature can be used in just about any app, using the microphone key on Ice Cream Sandwich's new keyboard.

While it isn't a huge departure from Android's previous speech-to-text functionality, it certainly speeds up the experience, and makes dictating messages and commands that much easier.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • CountRock

    So does the translation happen on the phone? and no in the cloud? if so it will work even without active internet?

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody

      I admit, I haven't watched the demo yet, so this is just speculation...but I'd heard a few months back that they were experimenting with streaming the audio as soon as you start speaking. The current (old...) way of doing it was to record the entire speech and transmit it all at the end (with some added compression to cut down data use). If my assumption of the new method is correct, they are just using live "streaming" compression and pushing the speech upstream as you talk.

      It's not exactly a new idea, people have been asking Google to do this pretty much since voice commands came out, but the old feature was already pretty awesome so hardly anybody cared to make much noise about how it could be better. :)

  • boe

    I don't really want much in Android ICS - the only thing I really really really want them to improve is the voice dialing. Vlingo is 5 times more accurate but does a bunch of things I don't need and can't turn off so it makes dialing almost as cumbersome as native android which only gets the names right a fraction of the time.