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 3×4 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