Voice dialing lets you program your phone to place a call when you speak a nickname. Even some very inexpensive phones feature voice dialing...

Share story

Voice dialing lets you program your phone to place a call when you speak a nickname.

Even some very inexpensive phones feature voice dialing, which involves either the phone recognizing some generic words, like “home” or “OK,” or has you train the phone to understand the names of particular people, like “John Smith.”

Adding a voice representation for a number can be tedious. You typically start with the address book in your phone, select a contact, then use an options or menu item to navigate to record your label. (An example can be seen at T-Mobile USA’s support site for their Nokia 8290 phone model: support.t-mobile.com/knowbase/root/public/tm10096.htm.)

Depending on the phone, you may speak the name once or multiple times.

Because you will record so few different nicknames relative to, say, the entire set of commonly used words in a language, voice dialing tends to work well.

Voice dialing typically can also differentiate among the words “home,” “office” and “cell,” so you can set one nickname for a person with multiple phone numbers then use the location to select among them.

In a bit of technical irony, the multimedia-savvy, super-connected iPhone lacked voice dialing at its launch. Apple hasn’t listed that as a feature in its new iPhone 3G, due July 11, nor the revised software available for older phones.

— Glenn Fleishman