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21 Posts

12-27-2013

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Finding a good mobile handsfree operation solution

2014-01-10, 2:09 AM


I figured this was a better place to start collecting data around finding the best solution for hands free phone applications, specifically, handing phone operations while driving. A recent issue has stirred up commotions that users of the My Motospeak application have lost the ability to use the texting features. This issue affects various brands of phones and various bluetooth speaker connections.



I am hoping this thread can help us all to find a good solution to get back to hands free and safer alternatives to being mobile. Reply to this thread to give your two cents on what you use, how it works for you and list of pros and cons for the solution you have found.



I am happy to begin with what I have been using, including the Motorola app, My Motospeak. The ordering is in no particular preference.



==========



My Motospeak - Cost: FREE, available through Google Play



This app was the first one that I discovered and used for over two years. I purchased a Motorola Roadster to address the need of not having a bluetooth connection within my previous automobile. The Motorola Roadster was very efficient and easy to use. Paired with the My Motospeak application, it really made hands free texting and phone calling safe and reliable. The battery life of the Roadster is long lasting and can conveniently be re-chargeable using the same mini-USB connection that the phone uses. The Roadster has been replaced by the Roadster 2. I am not familiar with the difference of the two models. Optionally, My Motospeak can redirect sound through a pre-determined FM radio frequency (I never used this feature as it requires switching/tuning to different radio frequency)



Pros:

Seamless, hands free texting and phone calling operations.

Hands free operation enabled with single hot button press.

Automatically enables when bluetooth is detected.



Cons:

Circa Dec 22, 2013, mysteriously stopped working with speech to text operations. No ETA on a fix.

My Motospeak will only pair with a Roadster before it can be paired with another bluetooth speaker device.



==========



Google Now (OK, Google Now) - Cost: FREE - Pre-loaded on new Droids, available through Google Play



New smartphones with Android 4.2 have built in Touchless Control built into the phone. Personally, I only discovered this application through the purchase of a new Motorola Droid Maxx that I recently upgraded to. The app seems to be the Motorola answer to iPhones Siri. The app handles lots of phone operations and it not just limited to texting and phone call operations. The app wakes up with a pre-defined phrase "OK, Google Now". The user must first train the phone to recognize the owners voice and phase pattern before using.



Since I have not really used or tested, I can provide much more about this app.



==========



Assist - Cost: FREE - Pre-loaded on new Droids



Another pre-loaded application found within new Droid builds. Used by setting predefined profiles used to alter phone behavior when driving, meetings and sleeping profiles. The Driving mode offers a couple of options to read incoming text messages and optionally, reply back with a canned quick reply. New option to edit the canned message is only available with the latest Android updates. Related tot he read out, is to optionally play the read out through the bluetooth connection if enabled. The second profile, Meeting mode, will control the phones notification settings during scheduled meetings on one's calendar. The last profile Sleeping, which silence all the phones notifications and sounds during a configurable time period.



Pros:

Changes phones behavior automatically, based on each profiles type

Can provide auto-reply to incoming calls or messages during the times or events determined by the profiles.



Cons:

Does not offer adhoc texting options

Does not allow more than one canned response.

Drive mode detection is determined by GPS (GPS must be on to detect speed and motion)

Changing settings required having the GPS enabled. Settings can not be changed if GPS is off.



==========



Dragon Mobile Assistant - Cost FREE, available from Nuance, http://www.nuance.com/dragonmobileapps/



In the course of finding an alternative to the My Motospeak texting issue, I discovered Dragon Mobile Assistant. The program provides good speech recognition and has the same type of control over the phone as Google Now. Application works with or without bluetooth enabled speaker.



I have been using Dragon for a couple of weeks now. I do like the app, though you really have to get used to some nuances of the program (get it, the Vendor is Nuance...) anyway... Here's my additional pros & cons & misc findings. This is not a full list, just features for texting/phoning. I imagine with more time and practice, I can get through the quirks. At least it's giving me back the lost functionality of the My Motospeak app.



Pros:

Accurate, editable messaging.

Can be configured to operate in Drive Mode (without having to turn on a GPS to detect, like OK Google)

Works with bluetooth built into vehicle.

Can add to a message as part of the editing process.

The Drive Mode becomes a widget to add to the phone to ensure drive mode is enabled at a glance.



Cons:

Will not auto play new messages when phone is in vibrate mode.

Does not allow repeating of the new message when read out (or I have not found the right command)

Does not  (or I do not a command) to re-read new message because my phone was silent.

Voice detection is too short. Just catching my breath to begin a sentence indicates make it stop and it confirms the text.

Sound for media a playback is not loud enough at times and turning up the radio to listen to a message is not always convenient. Also, when the voice mode is finished, when the radio kicks back on, it is extremely loud and harmful on the ears.



==========



Hi!Way - Cost: Free, for now, available through Google Play



Though other forums threads, this application was mentioned and I decided to give it a try. The download completed and upon launching, the application required registration with the vendor to be used. I entered the information and registration failed due to a network error. I don't know if this application is still active since there have only been 66 ratings, almost split between 1 stars & 5 starts. If I ever get it to work, I will provide my feedback.





 

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53 Posts

03-16-2010

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Re: Finding a good mobile handsfree operation solution

2014-01-10, 2:56 AM


I have used My Motospeak since I bought my first Motorola Sliver BT headset in November 2011 and it has always worked even on my new Maxx including texting both sending and reading texts upon receipt.



I did use Dragon for a short time and it worked well. I wasn't using the other available options like setting calendar dates, etc so I switched back to Motospeak because I liked the user interface better.



I am now using Google Now and I find that works well once I discovered the check box that turns on operation with BT. Which allows me to use the button on my headset to activate Google Now for my input. I drive a van for my business and it is not quiet inside so before I found the BT setting Google now was listening over the phone mic which picked up more background noise making it inaccurate. 



I did have a Plantronics Voyager Pro headset for a day or two before returning it because it advertised an interface much like My Motospeak but upon activating and trying to use it I found it actually needed to dial a number to which you dictated your message and it would transcribe and then send your message... One of the dumbest and inefficient ideas I have ever heard of.

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Re: Finding a good mobile handsfree operation solution

2014-01-10, 3:44 AM


Assist automatically detects when you're driving. You don't have to turn on GPS. 

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53 Posts

03-16-2010

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Re: Finding a good mobile handsfree operation solution

2014-01-10, 13:16 PM


crystallet said:


Assist automatically detects when you're driving. You don't have to turn on GPS. 


View original


It detects you are driving by using the GPS

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170 Posts

11-22-2013

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Re: Finding a good mobile handsfree operation solution

2014-01-10, 15:59 PM


I have a razr m and use the smart actions to activate the drive smart action when I place it in the car dock. The external speaker is generally loud enough but it can still require pressing the screen. I will have to work with "OK, Google" and see how that works out and if I can use the two applications together.

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379 Posts

10-16-2011

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Re: Finding a good mobile handsfree operation solution

2014-01-10, 16:12 PM


SnoDrtRider said:



crystallet said:


Assist automatically detects when you're driving. You don't have to turn on GPS. 


View original


It detects you are driving by using the GPS


View original


It does so by using location services, right, not necessarily GPS - location can come from cell tower and wifi triangulation. (Though, with the battery life on this phone, I'm not sure why you wouldn't use GPS.)

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83 Posts

01-08-2014

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Re: Finding a good mobile handsfree operation solution

2014-01-11, 2:18 AM


SnoDrtRider said:


I have used My Motospeak since I bought my first Motorola Sliver BT headset in November 2011 and it has always worked even on my new Maxx including texting both sending and reading texts upon receipt.



I did use Dragon for a short time and it worked well. I wasn't using the other available options like setting calendar dates, etc so I switched back to Motospeak because I liked the user interface better.



I am now using Google Now and I find that works well once I discovered the check box that turns on operation with BT. Which allows me to use the button on my headset to activate Google Now for my input. I drive a van for my business and it is not quiet inside so before I found the BT setting Google now was listening over the phone mic which picked up more background noise making it inaccurate. 



I did have a Plantronics Voyager Pro headset for a day or two before returning it because it advertised an interface much like My Motospeak but upon activating and trying to use it I found it actually needed to dial a number to which you dictated your message and it would transcribe and then send your message... One of the dumbest and inefficient ideas I have ever heard of.


View original


SnoDrtRide,



You said, "I am now using Google Now and I find that works well once I discovered the check box that turns on operation with BT."  When that box is checked so you CAN use it with your BT... then when you DON'T have your BT on/open, what happens?



Asking because with My Motospeak, it worked through the (compatible) BT earpiece when on, but - basically - deactivated that (read-out) feature when the BT was off.



Dragon, in contrast, continues the read-out function (over the "ring-tone speaker") even when the BT device is off.  I COULD MAKE for some embarrassing "text announcements" before the "ringer" could be silenced.



Bob

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21 Posts

12-27-2013

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Re: Finding a good mobile handsfree operation solution

2014-01-11, 2:48 AM


I uninstalled the Hi!Way app. It would never register and therefore could never launch. 

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5 Posts

01-07-2014

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Re: Finding a good mobile handsfree operation solution

2014-01-11, 14:35 PM


Maybe it is the Googler in me (does that count as a word?), but I personally use Google Now/hotword "Okay Google Now". When paired with smart actions, it works well to remedy the situation of requiring hands free access in the car. The only issue I have is that Smart Action's voice to text while driving feature does not play nicely when using Hangouts as the default SMS handler, so if that is your preference, it may be an issue. Overall, however, Google's services intertwined with Motorola's touchless controls work quite well for me (making calls, sending messages, posting reminders, playing music, etc). 



For reference, my hands free device is a Motorola Elite Flip. 

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Re: Finding a good mobile handsfree operation solution

2014-01-11, 16:40 PM


When I check for "Google Now" in the App Store (Android), I only find Google Now - UCCW.  Is that the same thing? 



I already have the Google "text-to-speach" app loaded as well... are the NOW/"UCCW" and TTS apps compatible?  Or should I just run/try one OR the other?



I also found "OK Google Now (Beta)" and "Open Mic+ for Google Now"... but no (just) "Google Now".  What am I missing?



Thanks!



Bob

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