Dial with Your Voice

Dial with Your Voice

Use your voice instead of your fingers to dial your Treo. This can be useful if your hands are occupied.

You might not see the need for voice dialing until you've tried to dial a contact while driving. Even if you're very familiar with navigating your contacts single-handedly, you still have to glance at the keypad from time to time. With voice dialing, it becomes much easier and safer to perform this task. Most cell phones come with some kind of voice dialing system as a standard feature, and most generally follow the same sequence to dial a contact:

  1. Push a button to put the phone into listen mode, as seen in Figure.

  2. Speak the name of the contact you wish to dial into the phone, which attempts to translate what you've spoken into a known contact.

  3. The verification phase, which is typically optional, though on by default, will cause the phone to speak the matching contact's name (if a match was found) back to you, so you are sure it's calling the right person, as Figure shows. You will have the option to cancel the call if necessary; for example, sometimes "Lab" might be recognized in error by the phone as "Dad," so this verification step prevents you from calling the wrong contact.

  4. The contact is dialed.

Strangely, however, neither the Treo 600 nor the Treo 650 comes with built-in voice dialing, despite this feature being one of the top customer requests. You do have options, though none are free. Figure shows a breakdown of the most popular voice dialing options.

Palm's Treo Voice Dialing is listening for your voice

Treo Voice Dialing verifies its match on-screen

Voice dialing options




Treo Voice Dialing by Voice- Signal, available under www.palm.com Support Downloads for the Treo 650

14-day free trial; then, $19.95 buys a registration key

No voice training required

Not available for Treo 600

Not compatible with GoodLink[1] software

Use voice commands to launch applications, etc

Voice Dialer by VoiceIt Technologies, LLC, available from http://www.voiceit-tech.com

10-day free trial; then, get a registration key for $24.95 for the standard version, and $34.95 for pro version

Works with Treo 650 and Treo 600

Voice training is required for each contact

Pro version also lets you train voice commands to launch applications, etc.

Sprint PCS Voice Command, a feature you can add to your Sprint plan online or by calling 1-888-253-1315

You can usually talk them into giving you a 2-month free trial; then it's $5/mo

No voice training required

Works for any and all phones under the plan

Must upload your contacts to Sprint

Not available when roaming

[1] GoodLink is a very popular and extremely powerful system for accessing a Microsoft Exchange server over your Treo's wireless Internet connection

Here's the bottom line for voice dialing on your Treo. If you have a Treo 650, you are best off with Treo Voice Dialing, which Palm.com distributes for VoiceSignal. It has received very good reviews, and no training is required, meaning you don't have to record yourself saying all of your contacts' names. Rather, the software is sophisticated enough to figure out what you're saying. The only flaw is that it is not compatible with GoodLink.

If you have a Treo 600 like I do, or you have a Treo 650 and GoodLink, then Voice Dialer is your best bet. While it does require you to record yourself saying each of your contacts' names that you wish to voice-dial, once you get it set up, it works very well and you'll wonder how you lived without it.

I wouldn't waste money on Sprint PCS Voice Command. Though it does work for all the phones under one Sprint plan, it's still $5 a month until the end of timewhich is certainly more expensive than a one-time payment to buy the registration key for the other two options. Also, if you are roaming, you won't have access to voice commands, which is the deal-breaker for me.

Jeff Ishaq

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