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Microsoft is actually a great Android developer - 'To-Do' is another reason why!

It may seem suprising to some, but Microsoft is actually a fantastic Android developer. In fact, I'd go as far to saythat their app offerings for Android are far superior to than their offerings for the Windows App store. For starters the full suite of Microsoft Office apps are great, as is one drive and one note, and the Arrow App Launcher is actually one of the best custom android skins available (seriously - check it out!).

To round this out, over the last few days Microsoft has released 'To-Do' which as you've guessed it - is a to-do list. It really could not be simpler - the app allows the creation of lists and then as part of each list allows tasks and items to be added.

The design is simple and clean, and a nice move away from the boxy interface design that still dominates some of the earlier Windows apps for android. It's fast, lightweight, cloud based (of course) and has a widget - so there is not much more you could ask for!

Of course there is lots of co…

Vlingo

Today's app of the day is Vlingo.


There has been a lot of talk over the last few weeks about Siri for the iPhone 4S. For those who didn't follow the iPhone 4S announcement, in the words of apple themselves:


Siri on iPhone 4S lets you use your voice to send messages, schedule meetings, place phone calls, and more. Ask Siri to do things just by talking the way you talk. Siri understands what you say, knows what you mean, and even talks back. Siri is so easy to use and does so much, you’ll keep finding more and more ways to use it.


Now, I am not the biggest fan of voice control, for a start you look like a d!ck walking down saying commands into your phone, but also, I have often found that the inaccuracy of voice control can make a simple task more complicated than reaching down and pressing a few buttons instead. I have to admit however, that from what I have seen of Siri, for those with North American accents at least, it seems to work quite well, and is admittedly the only software feature of the 4S that may cause owners of androids to think "I wish I could do that".


Well, for android users, there is no need to fret, for if you too want to be able to walk down the street saying "Text Brad  - love your website" in a completely hands-free fashion (other than the obvious hand required to hold the phone in the first instance), then there is a free alternative in the android market. Enter center stage - Vlingo.


Now, Vlingo has been around for a while across a number of platforms, in fact, I remember trying it back on my Nokia n97 (maybe the worst phone ever) and thought that it had promise. It appears however, that with the announcement of Siri, a whole lot more polish was added to the app overnight, and the results are quite impressive. 


Now, when I short press the search button (the magnifying glass) on my HTC Desire HD, the usual Google search bar appears (which itself has some quite impressive voice command capability, but when I long press the same button, a few tones sound and I can essentially tell the phone what I want it to do. 


From my current experience it works quite well if you adopt a conversationalist tone (so no need to talk like a robot) and generally, even complex messages (which is likely to be one of the main uses) come out with only a few mistakes. Of course, it isn't perfect, but I think the tech in this area is only going to grow over the coming months and as other competitors to Vlingo become more sophisticated, I wouldn't be surprised to see the app to do so likewise. 



All of the above is not saying Vlingo is not already quite polished, in fact, it really is impressive what can be achieved through a few simple voice commands. One of my favourite questions is the ability to directly ask questions and receive an answer. For example,when I ask Vlingo "How many people live in Australia?" the answer automatically appeared on the screen "the population of Australia is 21707964."




Overall Vlingo is already a great app, with a whole lot more potential, so if you are interested in experimenting with voice control, definitely give it a try!


Price: Free

Also available for iPhone, Nokia, Blackberry and Windows Mobile. 

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