Google Voice Actions for Android forced rival Vlingo to make its comparable voice command application free for users. Unlike Google, Vlingo integrates Facebook and Twitter content.
Google's launch of Voice
Actions for Android forced rival Vlingo to make its comparable voice command
application free for users.
On Aug. 12, Google launched
Voice Actions for Android, a
voice-based technology that lets users speak specific commands into their
Users install a widget onto
their home screen. When they tap it, they can say, "Send text" to
start speaking a text message they wish to deliver, or say "Call" to
trigger the phone's dialer.
As with many Google
applications upon launch, Voice Actions for Android is biased toward the latest
version of the operating system, which is Android 2.2.
Vlingo for Android provides
similar technology, including a SuperDialer
for quick calling, texting and
local business search, for smartphones based on Android 2.0 and later. Until
Aug. 12, Vlingo for Android cost $9.99 for users to download.
The arrival of Voice
Actions for Android spurred Vlingo into making its app free, according to Dave
Grannan, Vlingo president and CEO, who was effusive in his praise for Google's
work on the app.
"After playing with it
for the last hour on our Sprint Evo running Froyo, our conclusion is: Awesome
"The app is snappy
[and] has great polish and usability. Voice Actions has set a new standard that
the teams at Apple, Nokia, RIM and Microsoft are going to be measured by. We
love to see someone of Google's stature validating this market."
Grannan is being very
gracious considering that Google Voice Actions for Android is a formidable
competitor that could make the Vlingo for Android app obsolete.
Providing Vlingo for
Android cost-free should help in that respect. There are other differences that
could ensure the viability of Vlingo for Android going forward.
Voice Actions for Android
leverages Google Web services, while Vlingo also integrates Facebook and
Twitter content. Of course, Vlingo for Android also covers more devices because
its support starts at Android 2.0 and works up.
Google will likely do its
backward-compatibility thing and support Android 2.1 and Android 2.0 over time,
even though most devices that began supporting those OS versions are being
upgraded to Android 2.2.
This includes the original
Motorola Droid, HTC Evo 4G, HTC Droid Incredible and the Motorola Droid X.
Motorola's Droid 2, which launched
into the market the same day Google made Voice
Actions for Android available, supports Android 2.2 out of the box.
Grannan's assessment of
Voice Actions for Android is accurate. The app performed well in limited tests
on the Droid 2.
As for Vlingo, while
momentum for its Android app may be curbed by Google's entry into this voice-command
market, the company should be okay because its software is also available on
Apple iPhone, RIM BlackBerry, Nokia Series 60 and Windows Mobile.