I must admit that I don't really get it. A lot of people seem almost obsessed with voice-dialing features on their cell phones, even though I personally never found it to be any more convenient than simply using buttons or a touchscreen. Still, since voice dialing is indeed popular with many people, it's not surprising that many people bemoaned the iPhone's lack of voice dialing functionality. We previously reported about Makayama VoiceDial, which is available from the App Store, but many users were discouraged by the app's $24.99 price tag and by the fact that you have to launch the app before you can start using voice dialing on your iPhone. So when we learned that Excuse Me Services is now offering two voice-controlled apps, Say Who and Say Where, for free on the App Store, you can imagine how hard I attempted to simulate excitement. That is, until I actually tried the apps - at which point, I must admit the apps started to impress me genuinely.
Say Who Say Who is a voice-activated dialer for iPhone that gives you full access to your phone book. You do still have to launch the app before you can start using voice dialing, and that's how it will remain for any app unless Apple builds voice dialing into the iPhone OS or expands the level of access third-party apps have to modifying the way an iPhone works. But once you open the program, all you have to do is press the button and say the name of whoever you want to call, and the program will either call the person or give you a chance to confirm first, depending on how you have configured the app.
It's really pretty simple, almost self-explanatory... so what's the big deal? Well, besides the fact that it's free, what really impressed me about Say Who is simply the accuracy. I tested it with some of the more unusual and hard-to-pronounce names in my iPhone's phone book, but no matter how "difficult" a name I chose, Say Who found the contact quickly and accurately as long as I spoke clearly into my iPhone's microphone. Not bad for a 0.3 MB download that doesn't even cost anything.
Say Where Taking things a step further, Excuse Me's second app enables you to use voice command to get directions or search for nearby businesses.
First, you enter a starting address. You can speak the address or cross-street directly into your iPhone, and once again the app recognizes obscure or unusual names without difficulty. And as if that weren't easy enough already, you also have the option of entering your current location using the phone's GPS.
Then, speak your destination, and the phone displays directions to your destination. You can also enter a starting address and then search for nearby businesses by name or by category. Like Say Who, Say where is a small and free download (0.2 MB).
Say WHAT? Say Who and Say Where are, of course, available from the App Store via iTunes or direct (OTA) download. In fact, even VoiceDial is now on sale for $1.99, which is quite a drop! In fact, several new voice dialing options are starting to appear on the App Store: VoiceBox, AdelaVoice, Cactus? we almost can't keep up! Still, although we haven't yet tested every available option, and although they don't provide the same level of functionality as OS-level voice support would, Say Who and Say Where are impressive pieces of software ? and considering they are free, you really have nothing to lose by trying them.