App: Almost Hands Free

Almost Hands Free is the first application from developer Shane Burgess. AHF uses Google’s speech-to-text technology to facilitate voice search of contacts, music, and locations.

Tapping on of the options from the home screen – which include Search Contacts, Search Artists, Search Songs, Search Albums, Playlists, Podcasts, and Maps – causes the audio capture window to pop up. Speaking a contact’s name for example, will either bring up an exact match from your contact list, or possibly, a prompt like this:

So adding new entries or training the software to deal with your accent is a snap. The app also recognizes multiple apps within a given category for Map searches. When I tap the last option on the home screen, “Maps,” and say the name of a location, AHF asks if I want to use Google Maps or Sprint Navigation for driving directions, nearby searches, etc. Of course, I can set one app as the default for this action:

Almost Hands Free is a simple and clean program with great potential. I am particularly fond of the developer’s focus on music and podcast playback. The app has its own music player with giant icons, and version 2.5 (coming very soon) allows AHF playlists to be shared with other Android music apps. Possible additions include scrobbling for, which I am definitely looking forward to. See a full Almost Hands Free feature list at Shane’s site.

The program ran well during my testing on an EVO 4G, with a few minor hiccups that can be expected of a brand new application. The developer has already released a number of fixes since I first installed the app several days ago, so I expect solid support and updates for this one. AHF costs 99 cents in the Android Market.