Vlingo voice search comes to Android phones

Vlingo's voice search app has had a strong presence on BlackBerry and iPhone. Now it's laying claim to Android phones, too.

Jessica Dolcourt Senior Editorial Director, Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Thought Leadership, Speed Desk and How-To. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica led CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
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Jessica Dolcourt
2 min read
In addition to the Vlingo voice app is the Vlingo start screen widget. Vlingo

Vlingo's voice search app has long had a strong presence on BlackBerry and iPhone. Now it's laying claim to Android phones, too.

While many smartphones have some measure of voice commands baked in, Vlingo's premium offering ($9.99) adds the capability to launch apps, update your Twitter status, and send e-mail and text messages when you bark orders at it. (We'd love to see voice commands for playing music and taking photo and video, too.)

Vlingo will also dial your contacts, plumb Google Maps, and search Google or Yahoo. We should mention that there is a short learning curve in picking up the right voice triggers to get Vlingo to search and perform tasks.

One of the more compelling reasons for frequent drivers to purchase Vlingo is the app's capability to read you text messages and e-mails through SafeReader, a feature that the company introduced in March at CTIA. However, if your phone already comes with visual voice mail, SafeReader may be icing on the Vlingo cake for some, but not reason enough to purchase the app.

More importantly, while Vlingo has much to offer in theory, its software missed a number of our commands from both the app interface and from the widget. Sometimes it recorded voice, then stopped without acting. Other times it launched a Google search when it should have opened an Android app.

While Vlingo may pick up on the timbre or cadence of some voices more efficiently than others, we did expect a higher number of accurate results, especially when we spoke slowly, deliberately, and directly into the microphone.

In light of the errors we encountered in our tests, we'd prefer to see Vlingo adopt a freemium price structure for Android the way it did for other mobile platforms so that users could match their voice to Vlingo's sensitivity before committing to a purchase.