iPhone 3G Voice Dialing Woes. Or, Why My Next Phone Will Be an Andriod.

Unbelievably, at least to me, the Apple iPhone 3G is incapable of voice dialing on its own. Manitoba recently implemented a handsfree policy on electronic devices while driving, so I went out and bought a Motorola T215 bluetooth visor in an attempt to be compliant. Was I in for a disappointment!

Not only would this visor not voice dial my iPhone, subsequent research revealed that there were people aplenty who were mightly disappointed in this oversight. iPhone OS 3.X apparently introduced this feature to the iPhone 3GS, but it was disabled on the 3G models. To me this illustrates another example of Apple’s closed modus operandi. Not sure what their rationale for this, perhaps they want to drive sales of the 3GS/4? Regardless, this is the final nail in the coffin for me: my next phone will definitely be an Android. Despite the fact that Android devices largely suffer from the same problem/missing feature, their open platform at least suggests that this could be fixed at some point.

What really irks me is that my iPhone works great in my wife’s Toyota RAV4. This vehicle has bluetooth voice control built in, using the car’s electronics so all the phone has to do is dial and handle voice communications. It stores its own phone book and has its own menus and speech recognition. When my Lexus RX 400h is off lease in April, my next vehicle will definitely have this built in; candidate vehicles are the Dodge RAM 2500, Ford F250 Super Duty, and maybe even the GMC Denali HD, all of which are diesel.

After what seems like dozens of searches, not to mention trying a couple new devices that the salesmen swore would work with the 3G, I found an obscure post suggesting that the Parrot MiniKit Slim will work with the iPhone 3G since it downloads the phone’s contacts and uses its built-in speech recognition to prompt you. Indeed, it seems to work very well, and at $129 isn’t a terrrible price for a nine-month stopgap solution.

UPDATE: the Parrot sometimes irritates me. It seems to be British in origin, and sometimes ASR only works if I speak with a British accent. Blimey!!!