Have you been wondering why there are more and more people talking to their phones? Giving their devices orders like: “send SMS to Norman, message hello how are you?” or “open File Manager.” Vlingo Corporation has launched their voice application, Vlingo, which allows user to instantly send a text messages and emails, call contacts, search the Web, create a “note to self” and much more, simply by speaking to your compatible S60 device. The service is available for free but can also be upgraded to a Plus Version. However, I’ll come back to both these versions later on. First I want to explain how to get Vlingo and how it works.
According to the homepage Vlingo runs on the Nokia N95, N95 8GB, E51, E71, E75, 5530 XpressMusic and the 5800 XpressMusic. Devices like the Nokia E52, E55, E71X, N81, N96, or 6120 aren’t supported yet, but you can still download and use Vlingo from www.vlingo.com anyway. You may encounter software bugs or usability issues when running Vlingo on these devices and Vlingo will also be preloaded on the new N97, E72, and N97 Mini when they are released. If you already have an N97 without Vlingo, you will be able to get Vlingo by updating your phone’s firmware to v2.0 when that is released.
How to get Vlingo:
In order to get Vlingo on your phone you have three options. Either point your phone’s browser to www.vlingo.com/getvlingo and download it from there. Or you could head over to the Ovi Store. Finally you have the option to get in front of your desktop PC and visit to www.vlingo.com, then choose Nokia, click ‘download now’ and enter your phone number. Thereafter you will receive the download link to your phone that points you the download page.
How to start Vlingo:
Once you downloaded the .sisx file and installed it onto your device, you are ready to start Vlingo. First thing you need to do in the setup is to choose your language. Currently there are four languages supported; English, Spanish, Italian and German, and you can also choose between British, American, Finnish and Australian English. Vlingo will add further languages in due course.
As Vlingo connects to the internet every time you speak to the application you need to select a network destination. However, it’s just about 1MB for every 150 times so that you don’t have to worry too much about enormous bills at the end of the month.
After checking the internet access point there is only one last thing you need to do before finishing the setup. Depending on whether you’re using a touch-screen phone or a non-touch enabled phone, you need to hold the ‘Hold and Speak’ button or the review/voice control key and say ”search concert tickets” and release the key. Now you’re done and ready to use Vlingo.
Vlingo’s functions and its usage:
Basicly Vlingo is all about allowing you to use your phone with the power of your voice. Instead of going to the menu and searching for the calculator you just need to say the proper words. Also starting a call, making a web search or sending a message is no problem.
In order to sent a text message just say: “Send message to Norman, How are you today question mark.” Sending an email works in pretty much the same way, just say “email” instead of “text message.”
To search the web just say the words you’re searching for and instantly the search engine you choose, Google or Yahoo, will pop up showing you the results. For example you could say : “Pizza New York” and you will get the results.
Say “open calendar/music player” etc to open relevant applications.
If you don’t want to search your contact list for your buddy Mark just say “call Mark” and you automatically be connected.
However, the question now posed is how well it works?
Opening applications works almost without any problems. After saying what application you want to open it takes about two seconds until the application actually opens. However, it does not recognize 3rd Party applications like Gravity, Nimbuzz or Sports Tracker or even pre-installed apps like the Ovi-Store, N-Gage and Photos. This indeed is a pity and I hope, although I doubt it, that Vlingo will fix it in due course. Calling contacts is easy and works seamlessly.
Depending on your pronunciation and how clearly you speak you may get misspellings when doing a web search or when ‘talking’ a message. In my test I got good but also some strange results. A Vlingo spokesman stated that “Vlingo will adapt to the person’s voice so that one will get better results in due course.” Even with background noise like music or other people speaking (but not too loud), Vlingo hears every word. All in all Vlingo works good but not perfect. It’s not a static service but a service that learns and will improve over time.
How to open Vlingo and to make a voice command:
To open Vlingo just go to the menu and search the Vlingo icon. Once you have it open you can choose if the application starts automatically or not. In order to make a voice command you need to press and hold the huge ”Hold and Speak” button on touch-devices or the physical review/voice control key on non-touch devices. Unfortunately, this is a downside when you’re using a touch-enabled device. Every time you want to make a voice command you need to go to Vlingo application first. Alternatively, you can add a Vlingo short-cut/widget to your homescreen. However, still this isn’t as comfortable as with the physical key. It’s ridiculous if you just want to open the calendar you can go straight to the calendar instead of the Vlingo application first. Non-touch devices benefit from the review/voice command key on the on the side. So you can make a voice command from everywhere in the menu as long as Vlingo is running in the background.
More to come…
Two nifty features for all social media fans will be added soon. Updating Facebook will be available in the next version and twitter in January 2010. I could already test the facebook feature and it works very smoothly indeed and is quite a bit of fun.
Vlingo vs. Vlingo Plus:
As I mentioned earlier, there are two versions of Vlingo available. The standard version is free of charge while the Plus version costs a one-time fee of £12.99/€14.99, or £3.49/€3.98€ per month. These two versions differ just from one function. You can only send 5 text messages or emails with the standard version while the Plus version allows you to send unlimited messages. Other than that there aren’t any differences. Getting the Plus version is really simple and takes just a few steps. Depending on your phone, you need to press options, and find ‘Get Vlingo Plus.’ From here you just need to follow the onscreen instructions. You can pay via your phone bill or by using a credit or debit card.
Vlingo does not work perfect but good enough that I encourage you to download it and test it yourself. As long as it’s free you cannot make a mistake. Vlingo gives you the chance to open applications, update your facebook status and to write a message just with the power of your voice. I’m looking forward hearing your impressions.
Here is a link to a demo on the Vlingo site: