Voice Activated Dialing On BlackBerry Better These Days?

By Bla1ze on 12 Mar 2010 12:02 am EST
Voice Activated Dialing- Do You Use It?

During the CrackBerry podcast we made mention of other devices out there that used voice commands for dialing. Common consensus was that most of us either don't use it, don't install it or haven't looked at using it in quite some time on our BlackBerry devices. Even went so far as to say that the system needed to have a better way of adapting to users own voices and accents.

Well, much to our surprise Research In Motion actually updated the Voice Activated Dialing system on OS' as far back as 4.5, just that none of us had noticed due to our lack of use of the feature. While the current adaptation of the voice activated dialing software is better than before, it still seems to not be on par with that of other platforms. Although, to me it seems like I would be more likely to use it now knowing that it adapts even just a little better then previous versions. So, looking at the comments from the podcast it seems most folks knew this change had happened but what we want know is, does anyone actually use it and if so is it better now?

Reader comments

Voice Activated Dialing On BlackBerry Better These Days?


I and numerous others actually tested this while in LA for vacation. The following phones were tested:
• Blackberry 9700
• Iphone 3GS
• HTC Pure
All three of which are ATT phones and run on the ATT network with the latest ATT updates. To my dismay the Iphone 3GS came first then the HTC Pure and the Blackberry 9700 at a distant last. The 3GS was capable of handling different accents, the Pure and 9700 relied heavily on phonetics but even then the Pure by far beat the 9700. =(

Yup! Even with the "adaptive" technology there it still uses phonetics for the most part, so using it makes me feel like I'm either eylling at my phone or like I have a speech impediment.

.191 or .230 was great after it finally recognized a name once. It was like once it recognized a name and you said yes it saved it to the contact or something. After that it has been awful, I'm yelling, playing phonetics and it still never works right, even after training.

I'm listening to the podcast right now. Haha.

It usually works pretty well for me except one syllable words like "mom".

When I got my 9700 in January, one of the first thing I've done was to set it up. As I speak French, my last BlackBerry couldn't even handle one call with that feature, it was always calling the wrong number. With my 9700, I tried it out earlier today and it worked like a charm, it forwarded the call to the right person at my first try even if the last name was difficult and the voice couldn't repeat it correctly before forwarding! BTW, I was using my Jawbone, I wasn't even using the handset which is great!

That the 5.0 VAD is fantastic! I used to remove the .cod's for it until I loaded 5.0 unto my 8900 and noticed the change. Now with my 9700, set to english UK (it seems more accurate for my voice...plus she sounds hot :D), I can use the VAD through my wired headset in a truck with the windows down.

My wife and I have the same Storm. Both of ours have not worked properly since the last OS upgrade

ditto the previous poster. Ever since 5.0 was installed, when I try voice dialing, the phone will say it is dialing but it never does (when using bluetooth). It just sits there with the white screen forever.

As far as understanding me and actually matching the correct contact with my intentions, prior to the upgrade, I would say about 60% of the time it gets it right with my normal voice (I am from San Diego so I know I don't have an accent :>), hey, maybe if I speak with a Canadian accent, it will work better, LOL. Seriously though, I have learned that I have to mimic the pronunciation of the phone, especially on weird names and if I do that, it seems to get it almost every time. For instance my friend's last name is Hlvac (pronounced Lahvak) but the phone pronounces it as HalAAvak. If I say it the same way the phone does, bingo!, works every time.

Simply put, voice dialing that requires you to push a button on the phone prior to speaking is worthless. It is not "handsfree", which is by definition what voice dialing should be.

This is actually one area where Win Mobile puts BB and iPhone to shame - its voice control software works properly without any need to press buttons on the phone beforehand.

Ever since I installed a hybrid OS to my Tour, the VAD has been flawless. It uses the engine & resources currently. But what I really like about VAD is that I can have my Berry attached to my side under my coat & have the Bluetooth headset in my ear when I drive. When you have your seatbelt on & it rings, you can't pull over fast enough to take off the seatbelt, unzip your coat, grab the Berry out of the holster without dropping it on the floor between the door & driver's seat, just to have it stop ringing when you press connect! I hate that!

Just touch the button on the earpiece to answer or make calls by speaking the person's name in your contact list or speaking out the number if it's not in your contact list. That's a HUGE bonus for me when I drive.

I am a new Blackberry user. I am starting with Onyx as my first Blackberry, so I really don't have any previous experienced from the older model but I know the one that does come with my phone work all the time.
I am not from English speaking country so from time to time I have learn how the proper way to say to call an indonesian name into english pronunciation and when I did it work all the times. Really a handy feature especially when driving and have to make call and you have bluetooth headset with you.

Before .545, VAD worked fine with 9700 and Jawbone. Not now. I can go through all the voice set up just fine, but when it comes to activating it using the Jawbone there is nothing but silence.

You missed one option, which happens to be the one I would choose...

-- No, it works worse than the previsious version.

I use it extensively, and it was much better on the previous version. This version seems to reach deep into my contact list and offer up possible options for the one I request that are not even phonetically close to the one I requested. I'm rather frustrated with this version and I hope it will be tweeked again in the next version.

I loaded .464 on my bold 9000 and it works fine however, when I loaded .509 on my wife's I noticed that the VAD would start and then immediately close. There is no way to start the VAD app. It just closes each time so I suspect it is a bug in the latest leaked version 509.

I have been using it again since i upgraded to the latest leaked firmware on my S2 and its been flawless! I have not even had to go through the adaptive speech wizzzard etc.

I still can't call my mother's unusal portuguese name with it. It goes for te whole contact list no matter how many different ways I try to pronounce it.

And does not work for the other half of my contacts as well, so, back to the bin with it. Loading MCP...

I use it quite a bit and always have on my previous phones that had it. On my pervious phones it worked the first time about 70% of the time. On my BB I have YET to have it choose the wrong number. So my experience with it on 5.0 is it is a very good tool.

I use it in the car through my BlueAnt and it is always a pain. I can't say if it's because of the BlueAnt or the BB though...probably both!

My Curve was the first BB that actually used the voice activated dialing. It worked great. Then I got the Storm and it was there but may have well not been it was so bad. Very slow to respond to me and barely ever knew what I said. My Tour's is in the middle I guess. It works better than the Storm's but not nearly as good or clear sounding as the Curve's was.

i don't usually use voice dialing unless i have my bluetooth on and i'm driving. the primary voice function i use is google mobile's voice search

I use VAD close to 20 times a day in my car and it is, for me, nearly flawless. I say nearly because there is one name that I have to pronounce phonetically and I think it is merely because of spelling. A colleague's name that is pronounced "cope land" but spelled "Copland" I have to say "cop land", and every time I am reminded of the Sylvester Stallone movie of the same name...uggh. I continue to read comments where people say it is crap and I wonder how they have so much trouble and I have such good luck? Maybe it's because I am Canadian eh?

I use it with my bluetooth in the car all the time. Oddly sometimes it seems to work very well, others it totally refuses to offer any sensible options. I had notices that the voice seems much more American on v.5. I'm not sure it is better, but it certainly is different

Somebody here mentioned setting the voice to UK english...how is that done....and can somebody explain what the choice lists menas when it is automatic, or always on or always off
and what are the basic prompts and the detailed prompts


Even with the voice adaptation, this software is useless. It rarely gets the name correct. I am using it on the Storm O\S 5.0 with the Jawbone 2. Please tell me how to uninstall this program from my device. Thanks.

I loved VAD on my 8820 and was disappointed when I upgraded to the 9000 which never worked. However it was my only disappointment with the 9000 so I learned to live with it. In fact I blamed it on my Blue Ant V1 which was changed to around the same time.

Switch now to 9700 in November and with the same V1 the VAD works wonderfully for me. Here in the Northeast most states do not allow you to use hand held cell phones and so VAD and bluetooth are important to me. 9700 with .545 I rarely if ever have to repeat myself.

I might play with it and use it. Blackberry could make it a lot better by letting you record a custom voice greating for some people.

in my blackberry I have first and last names of most people but the ones I call the most I would rather just have to say the first name and let the phone call that person.

Either way I do not see myself using this much because voice dialing across almost all phones is complete crap.

Well, since my first bb, the allmighty pearl, I've had no issues with VAD.
I'm a mexican living near mexico city, so no problems at all with spanish.
I only use this feature when I'm driving and I just cat dial the number or the name, and it has failed not more than 10 times in all this time.
I don't have to speak like a "special". Its just mi saying llamar and the contact's name.

On my Storm2, more often than not, I would get a white screen with the message initializing, please wait. And I would wait for what seemed forever. It virtually locked up the phone until I could get to the home screen. When the feature worked and the prompt appeared, it would get my pronunciation wrong, always with a unintended response. It is not dependable or consistent. I don't have the time to play around with this thing and the ensuing guess work. I solved the problem using Vlingo which is right on the ball every time.

Why bother with the BB voice dialing, when Vlingo does it better, and gives you voice e-mail sending to boot? I have been using that, and even if the 5.0 version is better than the older version on my system, I see no reason to switch and waste a second feature key.

I really value my voice dialing while I'm driving using my BT to activate it.
It is working fine except for the following with or without BT:

If I have a second work number in the contact I'm calling, the app is asking me "which number".

So I say "2" or "number 2" or "work 2" and then the screen continues to display "which number" or displays nothing.

Or sometimes the screen will display a selection of Work 1, Work 2. But if I select Work 2 nothing happens.

My work-around was to place the number in the "other" field and that works.

Has anyone have experienced this and what have you done about it?

VZ Storm2 (9550) .320
Former Palm User

When I first got my bold, the voice dialing worked perfectly. I used it all the time. In the last 5-6 months, I noticed that it refuses to dial what I tell it to so I've stopped using that feature. Did you say that it was improved??? I thought it was worse!!

My new phone came with the updated software, I don't have a problem with it at all. The sprint salesperson told me I would never use it and that it didn't work very well.

The "adapt voice" is not present on the Bold 9000 with Rogers Adapt digits is available on the menue

I found it worked better if I did not use the "Voice Adapt". Tried it 3 times and consistently got the names wrong, so reset, skipped the set up and all is the same as before.

Actually I am VERY impressed with the improvement. I get about a 99% match every time now. works great with my bluetooth headset while driving the car.

I would LOVE it if RIM would add a "Phonetics" field to the Contacts list. My last name is Pius (pronounced PIE-uhs, like the Pope); however my BlackBerry Storm 2 thinks it's pronounced "PEE-iss" (I $#@&*! HATE that!).

Perhaps Nuance will include a "Phonetics" feature in their next SDK and RIM can introduce it to the address book...

I cannot stress enough how important a good Bluetooth headset is when it comes to voice dialing.

I personally use the Plantronics Voyager Pro, and it's by far and away the best Bluetooth headset I've ever put on my ear. I have a drawer-full of failed predecessors: Motorolas, Aliph Jawbones, BlueAnts, and the like.

I never used voice dialing on the other headsets because it flatly refused to work. But with the Plantronics Voyager Pro, it works every single time. Now I can't live without it, and wouldn't even consider moving to a Droid because Android 2.1 doesn't support voice apps over Bluetooth yet. Neither does Palm, by the way.'s VAD on the 9780 works flawlessly! I've been wih BlackBerry for almost 3 years and I always made a point to remove VAD.