While BlackBerry devices may arguably have the best mobile keyboard experience, there are few people that can type faster on any mobile device than they can speak. Unfortunately, barely anyone I know seems to have heard of Dragon E-Mail for BlackBerry. Installing Dragon for E-Mail on your BlackBerry can drastically improve how you use your smartphone.
So what is Dragon for E-Mail? It’s a very simple app that lets you speak your emails rather than type them on your tiny keyboard. It records up to a minute of your voice, sends the recording up to a server, which works some magic and places the text into your email. There’s no training required, which means you can use it immediately you install it. Nuance’s desktop applications require users to read to it and perform other setup tasks that can take about half an hour.
I use a lot of Nuance voice recognition apps, across devices, which is why I accidentally referred to Dragon for E-Mail as DragonDictate in the above video.
I use Dragon Dictation, a similar application to Dragon E-Mail, on my iPhone 4. I actually prefer Dragon E-Mail for BlackBerry because you can use it within the BlackBerry e-mail application. The iPhone version requires you to launch a separate application, which means you have to jump back and forth between apps.
So what do I mean about transforming how you use your BlackBerry? A lot of people write very short emails from their smartphones, often including apologies for a short reply or telling recipients that they’ll follow up with more details later. With Dragon for E-Mail you can speak at your normal pace (60-100 words per minute for most people), allowing you to reply to emails about as quickly as sitting at a laptop. By speaking your replies in full you can avoid having replies stack up and replying to all of them at once when you’re back at your desk. For a lot of people, that’s a regular and unpleasant way to end their work days. You can also get rid of those ‘please excuse my brevity’ lines from your signature.
It does take some getting used to speaking emails instead of writing them. For example, you need to speak punctuation. Most importantly, it’s best to speak at a normal pace and tone. Speaking slowly or exaggerating syllables actually makes transcriptions less accurate. It’s not always perfect, so you’ll want to read your email before you hit send.
I’m shocked by how few people use this application. I showed it to some PR people at Research in Motion’s developer conference recently and they’d never heard of it. If you work in PR, sales or any other position that involves tapping out a lot of emails on the go this is a must have app. There’s really no excuse for torturing your thumbs when an app like this exists.
Dragon E-Mail is free and available via the BlackBerry App World and DragonMobileApps.com. Unfortunately it doesn’t work with every BlackBerry and some carriers don’t allow it.