Windows Phone 8 to feature developer access to Voice Command features

In what should be a very exciting addition for developers, Windows Phone 8 will finally give access to Voice Command (aka TellMe).

According to the leaked Windows Phone 8 SDK, developers can add functions to their app that uses the Voice Command feature, enabling customers to launch the app with a sub-query which will take them to a specific area of the app:

"Users can use voice commands to both launch your app and execute an action. For example, a user using the Contoso Widgets app could press the Start button and say "Contoso Widgets, show best sellers" to both launch the Contoso Widgets app and navigate to a 'best sellers' page, or some other action that the developer specifies."

(An example of this would be Jay Bennett adding a feature to our WPCentral app whereby you hold the Start button to access Voice Command (TellMe) and say “WPCentral, go to reviews”).

Developers can specify the commands in the app via a VCD file—so the commands aren’t completely free-flowing and users will have to know them. Still, that’s a great feature that should speed up app launching and data retrieval. Developers can even program in phrases for other languages for localization.

Finally, developers can enable speech-to-text within their app. A real world example would mean you can post comments to WPCentral by tapping the microphone in the text field and speaking your comment. You can also have the app read the article post to you in case you’re presently occupied by using the text-to-speech option:

Speech Recognition and Text-to-Speech APIs. While in the context of your application, allow users to provide input using their voice, and readout text to users via text-to-speech. Leverage cloud-based speech recognition for web search and dictation, or build more complex interactions.

Once again, this unique functionality to Windows Phone 8. While iOS and Android can use voice commands, they can’t get that specific by launching commands within the app upon launch. However, the speech-to-text feature will simply bring parity with other platforms and is a welcome, albeit late, addition to Windows Phone.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.