For 2 years, every day I left the office I grabbed my iPhone, and without looking held down the home button and said "Call Jessilem." Please wipe that silly look off your face, you know you have stranger pet names for your wife than that. Anyway, my iPhone would dutifully reply "Calling Jessalam, mobile" which was close enough. Now, once every six months it would say "Calling Justin, mobile" at which point I would have an awkward conversation with an acquaintance trying to pretend I was thinking of him and just wanted to see what was up. :-)
In the wonderful world of Android, every day I leave the office and I grab my Android phone and click the unlock power button, wait a moment, unlock it, click home, wait a moment, touch the voice dialing icon, and say "Call Jessilem on cell." Then I wait for a moment and look down and realize it takes about a second or two before it actually starts recording. My Android phone then dutifully displays "Call Dad on cell." I cancel that and repeat "Call Jessilem on cell." It displays the message, then I click okay, then it dials.
The Android developers got the easy part right: the voice recognition algorithm is just fine. But they got the whole user interface wrong. Lets see what they missed.
- Audio queues
- No confirmation required
The iPhone just makes the call. There is plenty of time to grab your phone and cancel it. Audio cancellation would be even better though. And if the iPhone is unsure it asks for clarification. "Call Jessilem: home, or mobile?" (Most voice recognition algorithms know how close they were to a match). The Android phone requires confirmation even if it got it 100% right, and the confirmation require you to look at the phone. Of course, you already had to look at the phone to even use the feature.
I assume there are 3rd-party voice recognition apps out there. I home some of them monitor the power button and wake without requiring screen interaction. I can imagine other compromises: perhaps another puzzle piece on the unlock screen, one that indicates a desire to make a voice call. I haven't looked yet. Does anyone have suggestions for a better app?
FUTURE: I'll talk about how Android voice recognition rocks in another post.