So far, what we’ve seen with most voice-controlled smartphone apps is that they require internet access to interpret your vocal queries. Once an appropriate match is found, the app launches an action accordingly. Whether it be Siri, Sonalight, Vlingo, Google Voice or any of the various Siri clones (such as Iris, Skyvi et al), all work more or less according to the aforementioned mechanism. However, K&J Software, thinking outside the box, have developed an Android app called Voice Control, which lets you launch apps on your device via voice commands without requiring any internet access whatsoever.
Sporting a minimalistic UI, Voice Control installs its own speech recognition on your device that has the capacity to work offline. The speech recognition (as of now) understands only a handful of commands. These include:
- Send message
- Open browser
- Check email
- Google Map
- Open calculator
- Make a phone call
Using the app is as simple as it can get. When launched, the app automatically begins recording/listening for voice input and consequently, tries to recognize if your query matches any of the aforementioned commands from its (rather limited) database. If, for some reason, the app is not able to recognize the command clearly, it confirms with you via a dialog box, displaying what it thinks is the closest match to your command. Each recording lasts for about 7 seconds and if you’re unable to speak the command within this time, you can always start the process afresh by hitting the try again button.
All voice actions involve launching an application. Even the send message and make a phone call commands. Unlike other similar apps, the app does not allow you to connect a call or send a text message directly to a contact via voice commands. It simply launches the Dialer/Messaging application.
We managed to test the app successfully on one of our devices and going by the accuracy of the app with which it managed to recognize our commands, we have to say that we’d be surprised if the concept doesn’t become an instant hit among users, especially those who don’t have mobile data plans and would rather not waste precious balance to use such apps on the go. It’s just a matter of expanding the pool of commands and polishing the interface a bit, and Voice Control could easily become one of those must-have utilities that are there to stay on your device.