How Do You Use Your BlackBerry Series: Do You Use Voice Commands?

By Adam Zeis on 17 Mar 2010 10:52 am EDT

We're back again for our second installment of our How Do You Use Your BlackBerry Series. Last weeks AutoDim results showed what I pretty much expected, almost 80% of the 10,000 that voted keep the Automatically Dim Backlight setting on. Some good comments as to just why you do or don't use it, my favorite being "Off because it does what it wants anyway".

Well this week we're back with another burning question. If you listened to our last CrackBerry Podcast, you'll remember we quickly discussed the voice dialing/commands feature. The Voice Activated Dialing is a pre-installed feature and is mapped to the side convenience key right out of the box. If can be useful for getting around the device using voice commands, and for making calls when in the car or on the go simply by speaking. So my question this week is, do you use voice commands on your BlackBerry? After you vote be sure to leave a comment telling us why you do or don't use this feature.

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

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How Do You Use Your BlackBerry Series: Do You Use Voice Commands?


I've experimented with it a couple of times, just to see what it does. But I've never really used it. I've never needed to.

I use more voice commands then keyboard. I bought the app vlingo. The full paid version. The more you use it the better and faster it gets. I use it for everything, contacts, calendar anything that needs keyboard entry I use vlingo. It also opens any and all programs on your device. They are going to be upgrading it again very soon, it just keeps getting better. I highly recommend it to anyone.

I found that the BB VAD in times past was highly inaccurate, so I started using Vlingo instead. Been using it since 2.0 and I have to say it rocks. I'm up to 4.0 version now and with all the added features, I'll never go back. I did give the VAD a whirl in the latest OS, and I have to admit, with the latest voice adaptation, it is pretty good. But I'll stick to Vlingo because that is simply what I am used to...

I use it, but only when I am using a headset in the car. Otherwise, I have my favorites in speed dial shortcuts.

Honestly, to me, I would just feel extra lazy doing that. There are already so many shortcuts and I can easily call any of my contacts with two keys that I don't honestly have any use for this feature. On top of that, I would just feel like a douchebag in the grocery store commanding my phone to do things instead of just hitting a button.

So for me, it is more of a novelty feature, but of no use.

For safety reason, I would have thought there were more people using it but like me, they don't, it looks like. I might be a tech gadget guy but I have never been partial to bluetooth headset things, either. Looking odd and I don't want to look like one of those guys looking like they are talking to themselves on street...

I don't use the installed software that much. My bluetooth, Blueant V1, has its own voice dialing system so I generally use that or I just grab my phone and speed dial.

I use it in spanish, it works great. I only use it while in the car and it always works flawlessly. Don't know what the problem with OS 5.0 VAD is, because to me it is much better than the previous version. The voice is less robotic and is very fast and accurate.

Just like password keeper, which everybody seems to hate, I use VAD on a frequent basis and love it.

I do use voice commands and it mostly works for me. I never use it with the side convenience key. It is actually quite annoying to bump that button and get a loud voice prompt(reassign it).

I do use voice commands with a bluetooth headset in the car while driving but setting up Speed Dial Numbers is much faster. I only use it when I forget which key I assigned to a number.

I have never felt comfortable using a voice dialing on any thing and the ones on cell phones have always been flacky at best so I end up just typing the contact's name in for my address book. One thing I love about blackberry is how easy it is to find a contact to call. Just start typing and it gives you the contact

The voice response system appears to be cobbled together from other apps, and it insists on the phones being "mobile" instead of "cell" which lets it confuse itself between "mobile" and "home". It's also strangely inconsistent in response between "did you say " and simply "calling ".

it's easier for me to line up my icons the way i want to on my home screen and menu. i changed the convenience key because it simply annoyed me. every time i mistakenly hit it - "Say A Command"

I try to use it but have about a 50% success rate.
This would be good feature if it worked 100%

I'm a big user of voice dialing on my BB 9700. Have been since the 8300 days. I also use voice dialing with my iPhone 3GS.

Here in British Columbia, like many other jurisdictions it's the law. Hands-free talking & hands-free dialing.

I have the Motorola IHF 1000 Bluetooth kit which I have paired with my 9700 & a pioneer BT car stereo paired with my 3GS.

Both work remarkably well. The IHF 1000 control module is right beside my steering wheel for easy access and the voice dial button immediately initiates the "Say a Command" from my 9700.

Admittedly, I've never checked the battery level on my Blackberry that truly has to be the most useless feature ever. Just how lazy do you have to be that if you need to know how much battery is left you can't lift the device up? Unless you're visually impaired this must put you in the lead for sloth of the year if you're using this feature.

I never liked the idea of voice dialing. I've seen my mother constantly repeating herself on her phone. Besides, after nearly 15 years of marriage and 27 years of knowing her, my wife still can't understand me half the time. How can I expect the phone to understand me?

I commute 60 miles a day driving my car. People keep telling me the it won't recognize the commands, but it works every time for me. If there is enough background noise forget about it though. I'm a spanish speaking person, and love the. Detail they put the option for european and latin american accents, and it works great with a bluetooth headset.

I want to use it, but it's just not convenient. and it's a major PITA when it gets it wrong.

One thing that would be helpful would be a nickname field in the contacts app that could be used for VAD. That would make VAD so much more usable.

Also, the moto V710, E815, and even the RAZR nailed voice activated dialing (didn't have nicknames, though). I wish my BB would be a little closer to the way that worked. And the settings that moto offered were helpful and made VAD way more reliable. I cannot rely on BB's VAD, so I rarely use it.

Almost, but not quite, related: I wish you could dial by location number like you could with Moto. 8 speed dial locations on the storm just isn't enough for me, especially since a lot of my frequently called contacts have multiple numbers. I dial phone numbers way more than I feel I should.

I use Vlingo instead of the voice software included with the BlackBerry OS. I found when upgrading from OS 4.7 to 5.0 on my 9530 the voice recognition became much worse. There was a period where Vlingo was not compatible with OS5 and I tried the Nuance included software and it didn't work nearly as well as the version on OS4.7 I have removed it from my device to preserve my precious little 128MB of app memory - I used Vlingo 100% for voice commands.

I don't use the preinstalled voice commands, but I do use Vlingo because it is awesome and I got it for beta testing the new version.

After reading the last article about voice commands, it seems as if they work pretty well on the blackberry, I just haven't had the time to mess around with it yet. Come time though I will give it a shot and see if the voice commands on the blackberry is worthwhile!

I use them with my hs-500 only so i can just leave the phone in my pocket while driving which is now law in BC

When behind wheel is the only way. only rarely does it not understand my southern drawl. when you spend most of the day driving between accounts it is the safest way to call next coupke of accounts to verify time.

I use voice commands all day, every day. Not the BB voice dial, but I use vlingo. Can't live without it. Wasn't sure if this poll was asking specifically for native BB voice command.

When behind wheel is the only way. only rarely does it not understand my southern drawl. when you spend most of the day driving between accounts it is the safest way to call next couple of accounts to verify time.

I used voice dialing all the time with my old Palm, but when I got a BB 8800, and then a Bold (both with AT&T's fabled never updated OS's), it was not nearly as easy to use. It won't understand me, so I never use it.

I've always used VAD, on my 8300 and now on my 9700. I use it with my Jawbone on my 45-minute-each-way commute and in other travel situations. It works quite well once you start getting very specific with your commands ("Call %wife'sname%, mobile" or "Call %wife'sname%, Work 1" works every time). I have a few friends with names that have a slightly different spelling from their phonetic base. The first time I heard the VAD ask me for confirmation, I heard how it pronounced the names, and I just pronounce them that way. Example: VAD pronounces "pizza" 'pizz-ah', not 'peet-sah'.

There have been a few situations where I thought it would be really handy to have Vlingo, so I may give it a try.

EVERYONE should have a headset/handsfree setup with VAD. JMO, FWIW, WTF, BBQ, BSG.

I use BB Voice Commands from my Bluetooth because a push of the headset button connects with it, not Vlingo which works much better for me.

I didn't like the original voice dial and it wouldn't understand me so I got vlingo and it works pretty good it be nice if they had it for cheaper cus I won't 20 for it haha

I use it all the time when I'm on my Bluetooth. Outside of that, I don't think I've ever felt the need for it.

I use voice dialing all of the time. My only complaint, like JDonThompson is that sometimes it gets confused between "mobile" and "home". Other than that, it works great.

I do use it to dial with my Jawbone when I'm driving. I don't use it for anything else, but I do like it for dialing-while-driving. It works pretty well most of the time, and my kids and wife get a laugh out of me saying "NO!" when it gets it wrong. So all in all, I'm glad it's available.

I use it mainly in the car(only can use hands free here--passed a law--), have it linked with the Dual stereo in my good truck and a Bluetooth headset, for other times when driving other vehicles. It gets us alittle closer to StarTrek:TNG style computer....and I always thank the computer for dailing/info. Lol

I use the voice command when I'm driving and I don't want to look for the number. In my opinion it work pretty nice.

I spend an average of 6 hours a day in the car, with my original Jawbone, voice commands are the way to go especially for making calls.

I tried this feature, but it was not as good as what I had on my LG cellphone! I expected better from BB. I do have to admit that I did not work with the feature for any extended period of time, and I plan to spend a little more time with it soon.

I haven't seen anyone look cool or even normal for that fact, while trying to get their voice command to work. They usually all look dumb talking to their phone only to end up hearing it prompt them for 2-3 names before it finally gets it right (if at all). A few keystrokes or speed dial will always beat it!

NOT ANY MORE!!! In response to its querry, I said, "yes make it stay sunny." Five minutes later the clouds rolled in and it stormed with lightning and all. I then pushed the button and it said, "Yyyeeeeessssss" (with a little smirk). When I asked why the rains, lightning, et al came, it simply said, "well, I am a Storm 2 you know."

It's never worked reliably for me probably because I've got too many contacts in the address book.

With my BT stereo headset on the motorcycle, things get interested because the helmet strap often pushes on the headset control if I'm not careful routing it - especially when looking over my left shoulder. You should see the looks I get from others as I'm riding down the road screaming "check status", "battery", "stop", "quit", "exit" trying to get Voice Command to turn off so I can get back to the music!

Because, I dunno, the Voice Activated stuff always seemed kinda odd to me, and I have an 8130, so I like the space I gain by getting rid of the Voice Activated stuff.

No. It doesn't understand a thing I say! I do use Vlingo, however, in the same manner. It is 95% on the money with the commands I say.

Yes, through my bluetooth headset, BlueAnt Q1 because it's the law when driving and it's easier than manual dialing.

everyday. I drive a truck and use voice dialing on my Storm 2 using my bluetooth headset (the Plantronics Pro) works great. It makes using the phone so easy.

I always use it when I'm driving. I make it a point to never lay my hand on my cell phone when in motion on the road. This is a huge help and I rely on it. However, it's the only time that I use it.

It never understands when I try to use it. Always tried to dial somebody else, as in: never ever understands the names of the people I call most.

Made an habit of removing it with Maxmem...

But would be sweet if RIM ever got it right...

It works for me... There is an option for it to learn you speaking style.

I find when my battery on my bluetooth ear piece get low it doesn't work well but otherwise I am very very happy to have it as i drive a lot and call a lot of ppl.

and it is the law in Ontario that you have to have hands free.

Untill I got Vlingo I never used the Voice regocnition software that came with my Berry. I tried it a couple of times and spent more time repeating myself than actually getting to where I wanted to be. Vlingo rocks!! I started off with the free version then soon after upgrade to plus. It's worth every penny of the $19.95. I use it for every thing from finding contacts to searching the web. Awesome for texting in the car.

When my wife and I first got our BBs we would hit that button all the time. It was the most embarassing thing ever. After the first week getting used to the BB I started tinkering with it, found how to reassign it and was so happy I bragged to my wife how much I knew. She didnt trust my to fix hers till hers went off in church.
"Say a command". They probably thought one of the parishiners was a cylon

I Never use that feature, actually I don't use any voice anything, I guess it sounds weird but I just use the phone and the internet without any voice assistance.

No I don't really use this feature. I would use it if it had the capabilities of the Iphone voice command. Being able to tell it what music to play and things of that nature.

I don't use it because I continuously have to repeat myself no matter how articulate I sound. I also have a Jersey accent so..there ya go.

I use Bluetooth often and I use voice command when using Bluetooth. I used to have windows mobile and blackberry voice commands is as good as windows mobile. First of all I don't think blackberry is as accurate as window voice command also it doesn't have as many useful commands as window voice command such as redial or call back and it won't tell you what the last missed call was. I am missing this and some other features of windows mobile blackberry better get on there game or I will switch back when windows mobile 7 comes out

I used to use voice dialing, still do on occasion when I'm using the hands free in the car. But the numbers I use most often are on my speed dial so its MUCH easier to just key in one number rather than go thru that whole routine where they repeat the number back to you and you have to say yes or no. Half the time you can't understand what the automated voice reads back to you anyway!!

PLUS BB makes it so EASY to use the phone anyway!! When I wanna call Dan, I type in D - A - and then all the "dan" choices from my address book show up!

Thats my 2 cents

Rick in Woodstock (bought my 1st BB Nov '09 - Bold 9000 - the day it came out...the decision was made largely as a result of listening to your podcast, back when it was just Kev & Craig...I didnt think the cast could get any better, then you added Adam & B1aze - and it did)

I've never used it before. Any time I tried VAD in the past, it was a nightmare. Those things never understand me, no matter how clearly I speak. I'd really like to remove it from my phone completely. I mean, I've reassigned the key, but it'd be nice to remove it since it's so useless for me. Guess I should browse the forums and see if I can find anything about removing it.

The bb app worked great for about the first two weeks after that it took up to eight or nine try's to understand, most of the time i was at my destination before the damm thing would come up the correct name/phone number. After that it stop even understanding the word "cancel". one of the main reasons I upgraded my device to 8350i, what a waste! even mentioning that voice command app burns my donkey (4 lack of a better word)

born & raised in Lincoln Park, MI., and I dont have a accent, I guess the app doesnt understand people from the midwest ether, let me close before I really start to curse.

forget about it!

I have tried but with bad luck, name first gave me 10 options none of what I needed, then by phone number, started dialing international, going from a 214 prefix to a 244 country code.
So I just let my fingers do the talking,

Before Vlingo I've used voice commands a lot over the years. I don't understand why more people don't. You don't have to look down when driving and search for a contact. It's fast and convenient.

Use voice command for almost everything.
Installed Vlingo and rarely type on the screen (storm 9530)
Even when the text msg or email is not quite right I only have to correct a word or two. Text, call, email, search or just opening an app or game. I just tell it what I want.

I don't use VC simply becuase it does not understands what i'm seeking. I have tried tweaking the settings and i get a list of names for example total off from what i'm seeking.

I used to use them all the time on my 8330..then I got my 9530 not as much on it but a little then I put 5.0 and it turned to poop I say call 403-xxx-xxxx and it says Battery status good. Im hoping its just like a child growing up and in puberty cause I want my berry to listen to me!

Tried it, hated it. Tries calling every person other than the name I said. The only voice recognizing app I've used and has been accurate was Google's on the iPhone.

How do the folks who said "no" drive? Take their eyes off the read or dial by feel?

What about walking in the rain. My wife has already lost one Curve to moisture. The solution is to keep the BB in an inside pocket and voice dial.

I don't think it will understand my command, cause I tried it just once. I might give it another try, though.

Unless you never dial while the car is in motion, you really should try the voice dialing feature. Combined with a Plantronics Voyager Pro (personal favorite), the phone can stay safely in my pocket while I am driving. Just push a button on the bluetooth and tell it who you want to call. It couldn't be easier.

Why bother? A few days ago, I left for work on a rainy morning just before daylight. As I came around a corner, a little girl making her way across the street dropped her book bag and stopped to pick it up. I had less than a second to safely react. If you are driving, please put the Blackberry away.

I am frustrated that computer voice commands are so badly recognized. It only proves that computers are lousy at understanding English and always will be.
Ever spent 20 minutes of your day talking to stupid computer voice menus. I find it childish that we have to talk to these toys and find it very lazy that so many companies are forcing people to use voice recognition software instead of talking to real people who can actually answer the question put to them.
No voice recognition software has yet been written that can respond as intelligently as a human operator. Don't waste my time forcing me to use stupid computers that understand nothing! Give me a live person any day!

I tried it on my curve 8310, never worked, tried it on my bold 9000, never worked, tried it on my bold 9700 when i heard kevin mention it's adaptable now.... stil doesn't work.

I have tried to use it on my Storm, but it always acts like it's connecting and never does. Not to mention the recognition sucks!!!

I use mine frequently when the circumstances don't easily permit dialing. It can be frustrating at times when it misunderstands me, however, find that usually it is quite viable.

I typically do not use this feature as the Storm 2 I have seems to have problmes understanding what name/contact I want. If it were better at finding the contact I wanted the first time, I would probably use it a lot more.

New to blackberry, just got mine a little over 2 weeks ago. I use voice commands all the time when I'm driving. Probably because I still havent set up shortcuts on the keyboard like most of the comments I've read. I find it easier to use and can keep my eyes on the road when using.

I actually like the voice command program that comes with it. Recognizes my voice and what I'm saying. Very rarely do I have to restart it due to the operator (me) mumbling the name.

My humble $0.02

Well, I tried using d VAD but seems my accecnt gets in d way, never bothered but will try the vlingo software seems to have good recommendations.

Honestly, I don't use it because i am usually where others can hear me and I don't want them listening to the minutia of my day. Or, a lot of times because I'm using it in meetings.

I have always used voice dialing when I use my bluetooth headset, but in the last week I decided to download and try Vlingo. I LOVE IT!!! Using Vlingo has revolutionized my Blackberry use. I have a Storm 2 and my texting has increased dramatically with Vlingo. I have the paid version and recommend it for anyone. It was just updated with an option to also read your messages as you get them.

Yes I do use them. I had a defective BT and needed to use my speaker and also used the voice dialing. I like the voice commands and I do use them a lot.