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Voice controlled music playback comes to Windows Phone with Speak To Play

The ability to play your music via voice command was something that Windows Mobile users were accustomed to back in 2006. To not have the ability to say "Play <insert artist>" on a Windows Phone in 2012 is a bit absurd but we'll assume that something had to be cut for those 500 new features in Mango.

However, an app is now available that fulfills this task: Speak To Play by developer Puno-Z. The app is a clean, minimalist design with a large microphone graphic that you "push to speak". From there you can tell it to play an artist, song, album, playlist or even genre.

In our usage with it tonight, we'll agree with those multiple five-star reviews in the Marketplace--it works very well. We had no issues with it recognizing what we wanted to do and it gets the job done. It's of course still not as nice as being able to run TellMe via the Search button "from anywhere" in the OS--having to launch an app and then push the button is still more task-intensive than we'd like. But until Microsoft blesses us with this function, Speak To Play is the next best thing.

The app fetches for $1.99 in the Marketplace with a free trial. That's a bit high in our mind but if you think you would use this feature a lot then it's probably worth it. You can of course trial it before you buy to make sure you're getting what you want. Pick it up here in the Marketplace. Thanks, Ben H., for the tip!

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • Very good app. Has worked great for me.
  • Downloaded this app weeks ago and it's been working well since. I strongly recommend getting "Stop The Music" app along this one. It allows you to stop the music from the dashboard tile AND clear it out of the pause state. It always annoyed me seeing a paused song sit on my home screen for heck knows how long ago. Sometimes I'd even restart my phone to get rid of the controls on my lock screen and album artwork. The 'stop the music' app saves me the frustration for sure.
  • I quite like the facility of the pause on the dashboard. It's a shame that it can't do wireless sync to a position like you can do on videos, especially if you listen to continuous mixes.
  • Huge tip for you then. You don't have to restart the phone to get rid of the info on top or use an app. If you go to the music & video hub, go to videos and play one of your videos all the info will disappear. Works for me when I don't want to see the info.
  • Nobody here plays videos on their phone? Just playing a local video (not streamed) destroys my playlist, ie, completely removes the now playing. Quick and simple, though not what I want, it looks like it'll help you guys.
  • Wasn't windows phone's idea was to have integrated software, instead of an app for this and that, like every other smartphone? And I know windows phone can't integrate everything. But even the iPhone before siri could do it.
  • Well yes, but there are limits. We could have waited for a feature rich OS with everything baked in and Windows Phone would have probably come out in by 2013. MS decided to push it out, catch up in features via updates and build the Marketplace/ecosystem. Either way, it's well accepted that Windows Phone does have more baked in for native clients/services than any other OS. But yes, there are holes here and there and Microsoft will patch 'em.  It's always a race against time to market vs. adding more stuff. Not easy. Re: the "iPhone could do it before Siri" yeah, they got it on the iPhone 3Gs. You know, the third generation. Obviously it was not a priority for Apple either, so I think we can cut MS a tiny bit of slack.
  • Well put. I think people forget how young WP7 is because of how well done it is, and also a little because of Windows Mobile. I think even some of us WP converts think this way... That and we don't want the iSheep and fandroids to be able to say all these things about our beloved platform, so we are harder on it. At the same time, it isn't 2007, and MS is still playing catch-up in many respects. I think they're going a pretty good job, but there's always room for improvement.
  • At the same time, is it really out of line to expect these features that are standard on other phones right off the bat? I love my WP. I do. But there were a lack of some features from the get go that just boggled my mind. And even with Mango fixing that, it still feels like MS is playing catch up way too much with some even more basic features that we have to wait another year for (which at that point, were probably talking about a brand new OS).
  • Us only? Not available in Singapore.
  • Same here, not available in Hong Kong.
  • @snow @psyman We are fixing this. Check back in a few days (current version is english only though).
  • I wish the app would connect to the Zune marketplace. If it does it hasn't worked for me yet.
  • Not available in Poland :|
  • We are fixing this, check back in a few days (current version is english only though).
  • Not available in New Zealand :(
  • I think this app is brilliant on its own merits but an app to play music via voice and another one to clear it from the lock screen? This makes Windows Phone "smokable". Hopefully Tango will sneak this in and we won't need these apps.
  • I haven't tried either yet, but they sound like great ideas. Either way tho they need to be integrated into the os like attentive phone is.
  • True you can't play music "from anywhere in the OS" using TellMe, but you can launch any application.  So you can use your voice to start this app.
  • Not available even in Germany... f*uck you MS...
  • Works a treat in the UK. Using it now ;)
  • Microsoft do us all a favor!