Vlingo Labs Beta offers elementary list of voice commands and search for Android 4.0+ [Beta App Review]

May 30, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka

Android App Reviews, Reviews, Tools, Video Reviews


Though S Voice is an evolutionary update to voice search and commands features available on Android long before Apple stepped into the fray, the “Siri for Android” comparison were bound to happen when Samsung announced the feature earlier this month. Just as inevitable was the desire to get S Voice on non-Galaxy S III phones.

S Voice is available officially only to Galaxy S III owners, but a very basic version of the technology it is based on is available in some capacity through Vlingo Labs. Available for Android 4.0 and higher, Vlingo Labs is a beta application that can search the web or perform limited tasks through voice prompts. Users can say “Hey, Vlingo” and become the commander of their phone, so long as they only want to command a few features.

In theory, it’s fantastic; in practice, it’s less impressive. Like all Siri for Android apps – and Siri itself – the app feels a little incomplete at times. Vlingo Labs supports only North American English (for now) and can misunderstand someone who doesn’t speak perfectly enunciated commands. The “Hey, Vlingo” wake up command only works when the user opens the Vlingo app, and there are a couple of missing features from the year-old Vlingo Virtual Assistant. So why should I use this app again?

At the moment, Vlingo Labs can schedule appointments, search the Internet, send text messages, and call contacts. It’s simple and intentionally basic because Vlingo wants users to try out the app and provide feedback on its most basic design and performance. There’s nothing distinguishing about the app just yet, but Vlingo Labs is a “test kitchen where [Vlingo will] try out new ideas,” so it’s a chance to see the new features that will make it into future iterations.

Vlingo Labs (Beta) requires Android 4.0 or higher; it is available only in the United States and Canada.