Using your phone while on the road is extremely dangerous. A safer way to stay connected is to use a hands-free kit. This is great if you want to make calls, but less helpful if you're dependent on the myriad of messaging services currently in use.
Enter Drivemode, which has been kicking around the Google Play Store for some time now. At a very fundamental level, it provides a gesture interface for a number of apps and system functions, essentially allowing you to safely use your phone without even looking at the screen. It also supports the composition and sending of SMS messages through voice recognition.
When you make a voice search or any other voice input on Android, there's a complex process that goes on behind the scenes. Your voice is recorded, transmitted to Google's servers, analyzed and converted into a text string, then either passed on to the relevant web service (like Google Search) or sent back to your device. It's usually almost instantaneous if you have a decent Internet connection, but therein lies its one weakness: you do have to have that connection in order for it to work. The rudimentary offline system (in Android since Jelly Bean) relies on a relatively unsophisticated vocabulary and detection system that's slow and less powerful than the connected version.
Is that an Android phone tailgating you? No, that's just the operating system in your rear view mirror. Robin Labs, which previously made headlines with its Yahoo-optimized voice assistant, is at CES with Pioneer to show off a new smart rear view mirror called the Drive Agent Mirror. It runs Android with Robin's natural language voice recognition system built-in. Yes, it's probably as strange as it sounds.
The mirror is a little wider than average, but it looks otherwise normal when the display is off. When the embedded Android system is online, the left third of the mirror lights up with a semi-transparent display.
I've known my wife for five years now, and I still struggle to remember her phone number. The only numbers I know are those I can recall from before getting my first mobile phone, and since I have lost touch with nearly everyone from back then, that has largely been reduced down to immediate family members. For everyone else, there's a People app, and all I've had to do to dial them is start typing their name. Now I don't even have to make that much effort. If you join the Google Search field trial, you can find a contact's information simply by asking your phone.
Perhaps the most time-saving key on the Android keyboard is the microphone, but using it is more hassle than it's worth when certain words just refuse to be recognized. More often than not, these words are contact names. Luckily, there is a way to trick your phone into recognizing even the most tongue-twisting of names. If you're tired of your phone turning "Demonte Jones" into "Demon's bones," just teach it to recognize the latter as the former. Granted, this might be a problem when you're texting a friend the location of a secret item in your favorite MMORPG.
The instructions are pretty straightforward:
Open up the People app and find your desired contact.
Here at Android Police, we love Google Now (and all the associated voice actions), but the natural language could use a bit of sprucing up. If you'd like to try an alternative voice assistant, Indigo may grab your attention on this front. The pitch here is that the app remembers your conversations and can sync those inquiries across devices.
If you ask a question like, "Where can I find Indian food around here?" you'll get a list of results. Tap on the one you're most interested in. You can then follow that up with "How can I get there?"
We non-Jelly Bean plebeians have been envious of those with access to Android 4.1 for some time now, and a recent video from JLishere provides yet another reason to be jealous. The video, a demo of the much-anticipated Google Now, shows off just how accurate JB's voice recognition can be - in fact, it was able to pick up on the subtle differences between words like 'Worcester' and 'Wooster.' It also exemplifies the impressive number of commands Now (in cooperation with the Knowledge Graph) can register - from "call the Drake Hotel" to "do a barrel roll."
Enough balderdash, though - watch the 47-question demo for yourself:
Update: 20 more questions:
One last note: as JLishere notes in the video description, the demo was performed on an early build of Jelly Bean - this, in other words, should be considered a beta feature that will only get better with time.
Earlier today, popular voice recognition software corporation Nuance launched Dragon Go! by Nuance on the Android Market, bringing voice recognition that "just works" to the Android platform. Dragon Go! answers the users' queries by pulling data from a variety of sources, including Spotify, Wolfram|Alpha, Yelp, YouTube, AccuWeather, Ask.com, Dictionary.com, ESPN, Facebook, Fandango, Last.fm, LiveNation, Milo.com, OpenTable, Pandora, Rotten Tomatoes, Twitter, Wikipedia, Yahoo!, Bing, and hundreds of others. Additionally, Dragon Go's "Dragon Carousel" software provides users with complementary results to compare information across the most relevant sites for their query.
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Enjoy your Vlingo licenses and look out for future AndroidPolice contests!
Living in Houston, you encounter some pretty horrendous traffic. Out of the 45 minutes I spend commuting(one way), about 20 are probably spent at a red light.
With all of that downtime it’s pretty tempting to reach over and check your latest email, or, if you’re like me, compulsively check the market for updates, but every time you do so, you’re risking injuring yourself, and those around you. We all know it’s dangerous to use the cell phone while driving, but how many of us actually heed those warnings?