App Review: Quick Voice Pro — Voice to Text Email for iPhone

35 Comments

[appreview]
title=Quick Voice Pro
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/05/appicon_quick_voice_pro2.png
price=$0.99
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=285877935&mt=8
rating=bronze
[/appreview]

By converting your voice messages into text e-mails, Quick Voice Pro could be a time-saving boon for busy iPhone owners.

Empowered by our emails, tweets, IM conversations, and blogs, we’ve become modern-day information conduits. We collect knowledge, then discharge it into the ether, spurting out a constant fountain of fact, fiction and entertainment.

Quick Voice Pro is a new tool that could make sharing your thoughts even easier. The app converts audio recordings into text-based e-mails, using an online voice-recognition system.

Learning To Talk

If there’s a thought on the tip of your tongue, Quick Voice Pro immediately accommodates: The app loads up in a snap and is ready to record from the off. You’re able to open the software, blurt out whatever is on your mind, and get it converted, all in a short amount of time.

The layout of the app is incredibly simple, too, meaning there’s no possibility of friction with the interface. All the different functions are presented on one page; plus, there’s no settings screen and absolutely no configuration needed for first-time users.

appreview_quick_voice_pro_screenshot

While the tech-savvy may be impressed with the app’s advanced voice-recognition capabilities, Quick Voice Pro really seems to have been designed with novice users in mind, offering a big red record button and a large play button. And it doesn’t feel patronizing, either. The app simply incorporates well-considered, functional design.

It’s not all perfect, though. Recordings are all named MyRecording by default, which will make sifting through them a real chore for regular users. There is a button for renaming recordings, but it just doesn’t feel as intuitive as it could in comparison to the rest of the app.

Speaking of Email

Tapping the record button initiates record mode. Although you can’t go back and edit a recording once you’ve saved it, there is a pause button, letting pensive people stop for a moment and gather their thoughts before continuing.

appreview_quick_voice_pro_record

Once recorded and saved, the app can auto-generate an e-mail for you, leaving you to enter the from and to address. The body copy of the email will be your recorded message. The actual voice-to-text conversion doesn’t happen on the iPhone; it’s all handled server-side. There was a major issue that stood out with the emailing process: The subject line always reads, “You Have QuickVoice Mail!” There’s no way to change it, and so effectively, you’re sending your contacts a message headed with an advertisement for the app.

Speaking Aloud

UK-based startup Spinvox provides the voice-to-text recognition and conversion. It’s incredibly accurate, which was surprising, and of note was that it’s comfortable with long words and both American and English accents.

appreview_quick_voice_pro_email

To test the app, I made up a nonsensical sentence with a few long, potentially clumsy-sounding words thrown in:

“Rebellious, insidious individuals, find it highly probably that they will be libelous for their erroneous actions.”

This was then converted to the following:

“Rebelious(?) insidious individuals, find it highly probable that they will be libelous for the erroneous actions.”

Voice to text email brought to you by QuickVoice.

Note the question marks on words the software is unsure of. It’s a nice touch, clarifying that it has taken a chance and may be incorrect.

Summing Up

During testing, I found that messages take around 10 minutes to convert and arrive in the recipient’s mail box. Considering the impressive degree of accuracy, this is an acceptable amount of time.

appreview_quick_voice_pro_30_second_limit

On the flip side, there’s a 30-second limit to all recordings — this can wind up being a drag if you’ve got a lot to say, however, it’s understandable. SpinVox probably doesn’t want people clogging up its server, trying to convert entire hour-long presentations.

The only substantial problem is that, since this isn’t a free app, it doesn’t seem fair that paying users are responsible for spreading advertising it via email subject lines. And, just in case your contacts didn’t notice the branded subject, the message text always ends with, “Voice to text email brought to you by QuickVoice.”

The voice-to-text conversion works, however, I would hesitate to send any emails that contain such clear advertising for a product that, while effective, sees its users as billboards rather than valued customers.

This could have been a Silver TheAppleBlog Award, but, due to its uncalled-for product placement, Quick Voice Pro earns a Bronze.

35 Comments

Scott

Doesn’t let me email period, does it take time to load??
Tried deleting and uploading again with no success sending an email?

Carol

Thanks Allan!

Tech support tells me to put the phone in airplane mode under settings when making important recordings. Can you test that out to see if it works? I don’t have the application yet to do it myself. Really appreciate your help!

Allan

Hi Carol,
We have success! That worked and very well- this has been well spent time on my part as well- thanks for raising the question. As you know it’s very easy to put the iphone into plane mode then back again once you’re done recording.
Quickvoice Rocks! Allan

Carol

Help! I use my iphone to record meetings. I just discovered today that if I receive a phone call while I’m recording, it stops my recording. I had to discover this the hard way and lost 90% of my meeting. Does this application do the same? I’ve tried to find the answer in the descriptions and reviews but haven’t seen anything. Thanks.

Allan

Hi Carol,
I never thought about this situation but so far I guess I’ve gotten lucky and have not had a call come in during a recording- I just did a test for you with this app and yes unfortunately it stopped the recording.

Good to know, I’m assuming there might be a way that you can turn off the incoming call on the phone and that might work. Quickvoice has good tech support, I’d shoot them your inquiry.
Allan

Allan

Hi Watanabe,
They have good email support, I’ve never tried contacting them via phone. I had this same question, at the time that I was trying to do this they had a free download app that installs on your computer to download very large voice recordings directly to your computer. It works well.

Good luck. Allan

S Watanabe

Does QuickVoice Pro have a customer service number? I need some help figuring out how to download a 17.0 MB file to my computer from my iphone. This is a great app, and I’d like to be able to use it for conducting interviews, but if I can’t record more than 3 minutes at a time, it’s usefulness is questionable.

John

UPGRADE QUESTION: Does downloading “Pro” delete the recordings from the free version? Does it allow you to e-mail them?

Allan

Hi John,
Not sure, I had a chance to test this and didn’t. They have excellent customer service for a $2 app. Far better than Quark who’s selling an $800 app! I’d shoot them an email- I would think they would have a work around for this because otherwise it would be a negative outcome after making an upgrade.

Good luck- Allan

дeткa

Можно и по этому вопросу, ведь только в споре рождается истина. :)

Lori

Does the ap allow you to access your address book when sending a recording in text.

George A. Hegedus

Why when I try to email a voice file from my iPhone why dosen ‘t the program access my email addresses in my contact? I have to manually enter all email address!!! What were they thinking!!! To leave something that that!!

Very disappointed I paid for this app!!

H

I have a very large recording that I need to get onto my computer. I can’t email or change it to text. Any suggestions out there?

Vito

I had the same problem with Quickvoice Pro for hving recorded a file 150 Mb big. I imported the file on my Mac by using an import function of the desktop software PC Quickvoice I received as a Bonus after buying Quickvoice Pro for IPhone (0.99 Eur).

Peter

I recorded a message that is larger than 2 MB, I have to get this message off of my iphone. It is too large for the quickvoice to email. What can I do to get this recording to my computer?

Allan

Hi Peter,
I was on this blog searching for a different issue, along your lines. I’ve been downloading large audio files from my iphone using Quickvoice- Quickvoice has a bonus app (on their website) that you can download very large audio files to your desktop. Then you can join me in trying to find an app that converts that audio file to text without wanting to email it to someone.

Good luck, Allan

Glenn

Excellent review. Thanks.
One question: I assume to send an email, you talk into the phone, select a recipient, the hit send, with no way check the accuracy of the ultimate transcription before it gets sent?

Would prefer an app that would send the transcription back to my phone where I could then send it via email myself…

Shelby

Also is this app compliant with the 3.0 software on the new iphone 3g s

Shelby

HELP!!!
I downloaded this and everytime I say a contact name the program shuts down. EVERYTIME!! What am i doing wrong I have a iphone 3g s with 3.0 software. Is this program compliant with 3.0 software??

Rachael@SpinVox

Thanks for the all the interest in SpinVox. For those who aren’t familiar with the service, the SpinVox Voice Message Conversion Service (VMCS) is a combination of artificial intelligence, voice recognition and natural linguistics. But it also knows what it doesn’t know and is able to call on human experts for assistance (see http://www.spinvox.com/how_it_works.html). For example, as new words enter the cultural vernacular (such as credit-crunch) when the system encounters the word for the first time it is sent to a human expert to add the word into the live-learning system where it then becomes a known word in our ever-expanding six language corpus. More than a billion words have been added to our corpus and through this we are able to quickly deliver quality voice-to-text conversions, with minimal human interaction.

Regarding the security inquiry from Olly, SpinVox service has carrier grade SLA and ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 27001 certification and fully encrypted, Tier-One commercial-strength interfaces. For more information check out the SpinVox key facts whitepaper on our home page – http://www.spinvox.com.

Stacey

Thanks for the review. Appreciate you taking the time to test it out. Very cool concept, hope to see it upgraded in the future. Would love an app the can fully do speech to text, but probably asking too much. I can wish though. I think it is a pretty good app by itself and very fair in price.

Graham

I can’t send an email get a Connection failure

Connection timed out with server mail1.infinityinc.com

Any help would be appreciated

Janet

i tried to send message and it comes back to ME instead.

George Hegedus

I have the paid version of Quick Voice Pro on my iPhone, but when I email the recording to someone, the application does not access my contacts on my phone. Any idea why this would be left off. So I have to add sender’s email addresses all from memory.

Seems like something that should have been included in the software programming

text

Hi Olly

I have a friend who works at Spinvox so know for sure that they use call centres and whilst they do have some voice recognition software the accuracy is really not very good at all. Which is why they need the human intervention.

If they had the technology Microsoft would have snapped them up years ago.

If Spinvox was a true technology play I would be a huge fan but it really annoys me that human intervention plays such a large part of the process and it is never mentioned by the company.

Daniele Rossi

I was thinking how this would be a fantastic way to transcribe your podcast (provided that your podcast is done in 1 take). Then I read about the 30 second limit.

text

The conversion accuracy is impressive because the message is handled by someone sitting in a call centre, South Africa is one location, who types the message out.

It’s a well known fact that Spinvox relies heavily on human intervention to convert their messages.

Voice to text is a fantastic idea it’s just that the technology is not there yet.

Olly Farshi

@HobbesDoo – The voice recognition does indeed occur server-side. It’s undertaken by a UK company (separate to the app developer), called Spinvox. I’d be interested to find out a little more about Spinvox’s privacy and data retention policy, given the recent changes in UK laws.

@Angela Booth – The voice-recognition is fantastic. If you’re using your Olympus voice note taker for personal notes, I recommend Quick Voice Pro for converting your words to text. However, I think it would be worth your while to check out Evernote for iPhone. It’s free, it takes voice notes and it syncs with your desktop.

Angela Booth

Quick Voice Pro sounds good, but I don’t like to free advertising for the app in the subject line either, nor that it’s a hassle to change the name of the sound file. It looks as if I’ll still be carrying my Olympus voice note taker around.

HobbesDoo

I could have missed it, but I didn’t see it clearly stated in the article, does the speech recognition is done at their servers or in the iphone? If the former, then all your recordings have to go over to their site to be converted? In this day and age not sure if I really want another layer going through whatever I say, no matter how good engineering it is.

Cool idea and I had a friend asked me for something similar just the other day.

yabancı dizi izle

I was thinking how this would be a fantastic way to transcribe your podcast (provided that your podcast is done in 1 take). Then I read about the 30 second limit.

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