How to do email handsfree — both listening and speaking
Earlier this month as we were grilled by the NZ Hi Tech Awards judges one of the judges queries whether the app is truly “hands-free”. It's hands-free for listening to email but until recently you needed your hands if you wanted to interact with your mail.
We've released several new features recently that now make it possible to do email completely hands-free - including replying, forwarding, flagging, archiving or trashing.
Waiting for your command...
Now that we've got voice commands working nicely, we figured it would be easy to have Speaking Email listen for commands at the end of each email. Indeed, it was easy and it's a great new feature, making it fully hands-free to interact with your email.
You can also have it wait for a command at the start of the email, after the headers - say “play” or “continue” or wait 10 seconds for it to carry on as usual and play the email body.
Bluetooth / Steering Wheel buttons
You can now use steering wheel / headset controls - next, previous and pause hardware buttons over Bluetooth or on your headphones (while technically this isn't "hands free", you don’t touch the phone!). We support skip next & previous email, rewind and fast forward.
If you hit the “pause” button on your steering wheel / headset, we've made it invoke command listening mode, so you can say any command - like “archive”, “trash” or “reply” to dictate a reply. This is available on iOS only.
Bluetooth Hands-Free Profile (HFP)
We now fully support Bluetooth HFP, which means using the microphone and speakers over Bluetooth. We support Bluetooth A2DP mode also, using the device microphone and a Bluetooth speaker. When a new audio routing is detected, it displays on screen.
Speaking Email even shows the subject and sender on your Bluetooth track display
Playing email content without the clutter
Of course listening to emails works pretty nicely hands-free too, with smart content detection skipping of disclaimers, signatures, email headers, email trails that you're in, limiting email length, and automatically moving to the next email. You may notice we even shorten common text like dates and times, http://www is shortened to dubdubdub, and we read out smiley faces (can be essential to get the mood of the writer!)
By the way you can dictate smiley faces too. Try it! :)