Microsoft Voice Command for the Pocket PC
Posted December 2003 by Christopher “JuryDuty” Maselli
Microsoft says with their new program they've
made consumers' wishes their command. They say Voice Command is “the
result of 10 years of research, to make speech interaction simple,
intuitive and practical.” But the real question is, Is
In the simplicity department, Microsoft gets a
perfect 10. Upon installing Voice Command, it guides you through
Microphone setup, button selection and a brief tutorial. You'll be
up-and-running before you know it.
Five Voice Command Functions
Microsoft Voice Command 1.0 was created to do five
things with a definite set of commands. These are:
On Pocket PC Phone Editions, Voice Command
can make calls for you. Just tell it to “Call Robert Smith” and
it will. You can even be more specific: “Call Robert Smith
at home.” Of course, you can also rattle off Robert Smith's
number and allow it to dial it for you.
If you want to know what's coming next, just ask Voice Command, “What's
my next appointment?” and a voice will answer you, telling you what your
appointment is and where it is located. You can also ask, “What's my
schedule today?” or “What's my schedule tomorrow?” Voice
Command will be happy to let you know.
Looking for Robert Smith's contact info? Just say, “Show Robert Smith” and
his information will pop right up on the screen.
Like listening to music? Tell Voice Command to “Play everything” and
it will play every MP3 and/or WMA file on your unit. You can even to tell it
to play a specific album, artist or genre. If you're not sure what you want,
say, “Play music,” and Voice Command will guide you through the
music on your PocketPC until you make a choice.
Start programs on-the-fly by just telling
Voice Command to start them. “Start Pocket Excel” will
have you crunching numbers in seconds—and it can launch any
program installed on your Pocket PC. You can start a program by
telling it to “Start,” “Show” or “Open” a
certain program. Each command has a couple of these variations.
You can't help but be impressed with the operation
of Microsoft Voice Command. After pressing the voice activation button
(which you designate), you hear a beep. Then you speak your phrase
about 9 inches from your PocketPC microphone. Voice Command chirps
again if it understands. If not, it tells you to try again. Then,
instantly, it fulfills your command. Pretty impressive—and
without any need for training. MS Voice Command doesn't train itself
to recognize your voice but instead uses a universal voice recognizer
engine. Surely, you'll be quite amazed at how slickly this program
works. In fact, everything it says it does, it does—quite perfectly.
Note that the results you'll get with Voice Command depend somewhat
on the quality of the Pocket PC's microphone. HP iPAQs have good
mics and results are excellent with that line of PDAs; however our Dell
Axim X3i did well, but didn't have a perfect track record with
Voice Command. If you're not getting optimal results, you'll want
to tweak your Pocket PC's mic settings to improve results. Also,
the the latest version of Voice Command, 1.5 is even more accurate
than version 1.0 originally reviewed here.
Challenges only come in on user errors. If you
can't remember how you've entered a contact's name, you'll probably
pull up the wrong record. For instance, if you issue a voice command
to see “Bob Smith” instead of “Robert Smith,” you
probably won't get the right record. However, one trick is to put “Bob
Smith” under the contact's Nickname field, which Voice Command
includes in its search. Then, it will come up either way. That earns
it a 7 out of 10.