Sneak Peek at Indigo, the upcoming personal assistant for Windows Phone [Video]

If you're not familiar with Indigo, you should be as we've covered it numerous times already. It's a cross-platform personal assistant for both Windows Phone and Android. We first looked at the upcoming app back at Mobile World Congress earlier this year. We then covered news that the company behind Indigo, Artificial Solutions announced that April 23rd is the date when the app will be released for Windows Phone and Android.

Now we've got our hands on a pre-release version of the beta, before it's released to the store for public use. Spending a number of hours simply having a conversation with our Windows Phone has been rather humorous, as well as slightly strange. The app is actually really nice and handles speech input well with some strong integration with the operating system.

As one can see from the above shots, as well as our previous articles, Indigo supports a number of categories. From Facebook and Twitter, all the way to email, reminders and calendar events. There are numerous functions the service can carry out. Asking Indigo what the user can say, or what it can do will bring up an interactive guide that provides some examples of recognizable speech commands.

Since we only managed to capture text input on video at MWC, we figured it would be pretty neat if you were able to see the speech recognition in action.

We tried out the reminder feature that's baked in to the app. These reminders aren't stored on the windows Phone calendars, but are listed within Indigo. It's possible to create calendar appointments (or events) using Indigo, so fear not - it's just worth noting there's a difference between the two.

Also, I noted in the video that one can change the search engine. This is possible (according to the website - not available just yet), but by default the app uses the built-in Bing search, which is good enough. If you wish to use another source, simply ask it to Google something. Please note that the app doesn't work with the press-and-hold home button speech input. Commands have to be entered within the app. 

We'll be sure to let you all know when the app is finally available. Not long to go now, only a few more days.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Is it integrated with the home button?
  • Really? Lol hope that was sarcasm... I wish though aye, tell me is shocking, and no app not even siri can understand a new Zealand accent it sucks
  • Why is that suppose to be sarcasm?
  • No home button in WP, only in android
  • You know he meant start button..
  • Wow home start who cares. Seriously? Lmao. Smh.
  • One of the last lines of the article says, "Please note that the app doesn't work with the press-and-hold home button speech input."
  • Lol no one can understand a kiwi accent... You've got your vowels all backwards :P
  • Don't use spydroid, needs to be cross platform with Windows 8.
  • He mentions in the video that there is an available web client
  • How does this compare to maluuba?
  • IMO, this looks better.
  • Its a significant improvement over Maluuba.
  • Does it integrate in to WP so that when you hold the windows button anywhere on the phone you can say "indigo...." without opening the app. That's something I didn't like about maluba
  • Weird no one's answering this. Can it replace holding the home button?!?!
  • It's not possible for an app to override that, it can only be launched (with parameters) based on what you speak through TellMe.
  • False. Windows Phone 8 allows apps to integrate with TellMe
  • No, I can do this with several apps.
    Currently they are:
    Audiocloud: Audiocloud play my stream
    Flixster: Flixster show top movies
    Mixtapes: Mixtapes keep playing
    Twitter: Twitter new tweet
    Urbanspoon: Urbanspoon I am hungry
    Wikipedia: Wikipedia; article of the day, search, around me, random article
  • But you can't ask a specific, novel question via the Start Button. For instance, I can say " define a word," and that will launch the app which will ask me for the word. But I cannot say " define word" and get "a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning." So no, it cannot be integrated with the Start Button in the way in which most of us want. YALOWP (yet another limitation of Windows Phone).
  • Did you NOT see above in the article where it says it's NOT integrated with the Start button? Sheesh.
  • That's something I'd like to know too. Any info on it?
  • I understand what you're saying. That would be really cool, like if we could choses which voice recognition app has presidence over the start button when we long press.. Great idea,, but I doubt if MS has released a API for that yet.. You should ask the developer.. Great idea!
  • But, you can launch the app from Tellme.
  • Howdy, folks. Sorry about not noting this in the article. Using commands like "Indigo search the web for..." or "Indigo create email to..." don't work using the home button speech input.
  • But, wouldn't that be cool if we could do this with apps?
  • I thought we could (or maybe I am misinterpreting???). For example, I can hold down the start button and say "Hey DJ play all" and that will open the Hey DJ app and play all my songs.  I know I have a couple of other apps that do this on my phone but have to see which ones. So they should be able to implement this I would think. Or again, maybe I am misunderstanding what is being asked here.
  • Edit: @wmgreenjr that is what I was thinking. I know there are other apps that use that function. What about triggering it by saying "indigo Hello or I need something". Which opens the app and then you can ask it what ever. I think there is an app called A.L.EX. that does this.
  • So the way it works guys is that developers can define phrases that you can say, such as "windows phone central read back the news", putting in optional words that you can either say or not say so it feels like natural language. We can also indicate a variable such as the word "news" in my example, and define the options such as "news", "reviews" or "apps", then do something based on which word you say.
    What's not possible is to have a wildcard, where you can say "windows phone central search for" and then something, because we have to define the options you can say rather than leaving it open ended :).
    Hope that helps!
  • Thanks for the I understand. Guess the best thig they can do is allow for the press of the start button with the command 'Indigo' which will launch the can launch and give a statement like 'what can I do for you' or just some sound so you know it is ready to listen. Really this is no different then just pressing the app button, but it would save from scrolling down to find the app while driving.
    Thanks again for the extra info :)
  • Actually thats not true, you CAN use wildcards.
  • Alright you can use wildcards but only as a catch-all kind of thing, you can't use the value of that wildcard in your code as far as I can see in the SDK
  • You really can except there will be limited voice commend that you can do when the app is already launch. I would have been very cool to have an option to choose the type of voice assistant you want to use, but it would be preferable to have it from Microsoft since it is such a fundamental feature of the OS. Then again, option tends to be better as long as it is well integrated.
  • Looks sleek! I hope it performs well.
  • I think I dig this one Rich. It'll be great to use when every morning my wife asks me what the weather is. She has a L920 and she might even find out herself.  Who am I kidding right? :)  Thanks for the review.
  • Can you choose what voice it will use?
  • Does it talk back to you and make sarcastic comments like Siri?
  • So we have to launch the app each time I want to do something. That is a deal breaker for me. I think I will stick with the default Tell me features for now.
  • Agreed! Why Microsoft hasn't implemented a Siri like service in the default TellMe is so stupid! Apple & Android has one why not us..
  • Because MS doesn't have a home button...
  • Yes but it has a start button, commonly referenced as a home button. Regardless, holding the start button should allow us to do more than just bringing up the Bing assistant, or whatever you want to call it.
  • I was being sarcastic...
  • Pump your brakes Montpbm. I get  your point but neither Apple nor Google had anything by default. Siri service is NOT available on all Iphones. Neither is Google's Google Now service available on all android devices. Certainly not by "default". TellMe is not stupid. It is one of those homogenous apps the boys in the labs are still developing. If you have not used it lately, you should. It is a hell of a lot faster than it used to be, not so much bothered by background noises and more accurate than its ever been. But again, TellMe is still under development.
  • Yeah I know but I was just saying, not mad just wondering really.. :)It is so much faster thanks!
  • Exactly.  For voice assistant apps like this to be in any way useful you need to be able to ask it something using the home button.  Can't wait until we *maybe* get this built-in in Windows Phone Blue.... 2 years after Siri on iPhone!
  • Yes totally agree..
  • Here's what you do...tap and hold the start button, say "open Indigo" then indigo will start and prompt you verbally for a command. What's the big deal about having to open the app?
  • This looks great
  • Is it only in english or other language?? :) 
  • Kinda excited about this. Three more days huh? I can manage that :)
  • Thanks for the Video review, it looks like it has some nice features. I'm assuming that you don't have to press go after you talk to it and you were just doing that to save time, is that correct? That would become annoying to me.
  • Loos good enough for me to buy on the 23rd. Can't wait!
  • The cool thing is that you won't have to buy it. It's free! :)
  • Is it going to be available to non us users ? That's the real question.
  • I dont like having to press the Go button or hitting the input button. It should start listening after it ask a question and stop listening after I stop talking. Once this happens, my money is theirs.
  • Exciting apps like these coming to WP is always good. Currently I use Maluuba and also an neat app called Assistant it's pretty cool too check it out!
  • People are debating over pressing one button?
  • Just WP8 or will us WP7.8 users be be able to get it too?
  • Thats my question too, is this compatible with 7.5?
  • Microsoft should buy this and integrate it in WP. Or one like it, I don't care which, maluba is cool.
  • I had the Siri app on my 3gs for over a year before Apple took it over. Maybe MS will do the same.
  • 2 more days!!!
  • Can't you just ask TELLME to open indigo and then just use Indigo?
    To me that sounds lik a pretty easy workaround? Or maybe I don't understand.
  • That's what I said! Sounds easy to me!
  • Sorry missed your comment, glad we are on the same page!
  • Indigo is now out for Android and so far the comments are not good.  I hope the Windows version is better.
  • It's on the Windows Phone Store on the PC but is not showing up yet on the phone itself but I am unable to download it. It telss me that, "You don't have the required permissions to download this app." So apparently it's not ready to go out yet.
  • They need to release this for Windows Phone 7.8 as well...seriously guys, what about us?
  • its available for android but not windows phone -.-" :PPP
  • It was supposed to be released today!! What happened!? 
  • The webpage part of is also working now but still no WP.
  • Well it's April 23, no Indigo app.
  • Will this be available for WP 7.5, cause these days all the good apps are on WP 8.... Thanks, PLZ Reply ASAP :)
  • No, go to the website, WP8 devices only!!
  • Well thanks Microsoft...bought this Nokia Lumia with WP 7.8 for a year now which has no future plans on updating to WP 8, and still no good apps. First Pandora, then more Microsoft, one more and Im dumping this scumbag device for an android. Your move Microsoft
  • Hmm... I don't think MS led you to believe that your device would be able to upgrade to WP 8. In fact, they have said the opposite from the beginning. Sorry that you bought a phone with inferior hardware, maybe you should have done some better research before making that purchase.
  • Gentlemen, you may be interested in an alternative app that I have recently released to the store. It is called Voice Butler, and all voice commands are integrated in the OS, i.e., they are invoked by pressing the start button. Heres a list of some of the commands supported:
    Butler take a photo in 10 seconds
      Butler take 3 pictures in 20 seconds   Butler set timer for 10 minutes   Butler Set an alarm for 4:15 PM   Butler Wake me up tomorrow at 7 AM   Butler Create new reminder   The app will be opened when creating a new reminder, and you will be asked to speak your reminder in free-text. You can specify a time to be reminded, together with the reminder itself, or you can specify the time in the next step. Time and date can be set saying things like:   At 6 PM Tuesday at 8:30 PM In 3 days at 4 PM Tomorrow at 7:15 AM   The version thats hopefully approved in a few days also has support for appointments. You can query and create appointments by saying:   Butler what is my next appointment?   Butler what appointments do I have on Tuesday?   Butler what are my appointments for next week?   Butler create new appointment on Tuesday at 6:30
  • Spammer
  • So I clicked on the Windows Phone Store link in the Hello-Indigo press release, and I got "an error has occurred". I guess it's not on the WP Store yet, even though they said it would be available on April 23 (yesterday).
  • Its up now
  • this is quite awesome.