It may be a little known aspect of Windows Phone 7 and 7.5 that you can issue voice commands to the device. There are essentially two functions – one, searching using Bing by voice, by pressing the magnifying glass button on the front of the phone, then the microphone icon on the Bing page … (see here for a demo).
The second voice feature of note is to control the phone by voice: press and hold the Windows button on the front, and annunciate your instruction (eg Open Calendar, or Start Maps). See here for a review of the voice command functionality or here for a few more instructions.
Issuing spoken commands to your handheld device runs the risk of making you look like a prize eejit, especially if you do it Apprentice-style whilst holding the phone at arm’s length and bellowing into the thing. But if you’re walking along a corridor or street, you could talk discreetly into the phone whilst held to your ear and it won’t raise much of an eyebrow from passers-by.
Business Intelligence guru Will Thompson found a cracking tip, though, when using the phone to call someone. If you press and hold on the Windows Key button, and say “CALL someone ON SPEAKER” (or “CALL someone HOME|MOBILE|WORK|etc ON SPEAKER”) , you’ll start a phone call with them already (as you may expect) set to speaker phone.
Go old school
If you’d rather select your dialing contacts using a keypad, you might mourn the passing of the old 3x4 phone keypad where you could type their name in using numbers. Well, if so, cry no more… there’s an app called People Search (free trial or £0.79 to buy) that you can use to type in fragments of someone’s name and it will show a filtered list of contacts. A bit like Windows Mobile 5.0 did, in fact.
Give the voice dial feature a go, and maybe try out the People Search application if you want to search contacts on your phone with a few jabs and no self-conscious narration into your palm