Sprint adds transcription to Visual Voicemail; sadly not as hilarious as Google Voice

November 5, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka



A recent update to Sprint’s Visual Voicemail app contains a beta feature known as Voicemail-to-Text. Following the lead of Google Voice and several other apps, Voicemail-to-Text is a speech-to-text service that transcribes the messages people leave on your phone.

Dealing with the hilarity of Google Voice’s rarely-accurate transcriptions is one of my favorite past times. Will Sprint’s Voicemail-to-Text be as equally bad or will it be a boring app that does crazy things like work and correctly figure out what people are saying?

I left four messages on my voicemail today and found that it’s a healthy mix of mostly accurate and occasionally stumbling. Words like “Sprint” were recognized the first time, but the second and third instances became “Sprint.” Voice quality proved to be a determining factor: it was woefully bad when I called from a street corner, slightly better during the lunch rush at a local restaurant, and very good at my house. It remains to be seen how good this will be when getting messages from a contact leaving a message while running errands or in a noisy area.

The next time you open Visual Voicemail, Sprint may ask you to download the “mandatory” update to the app; however, the actual transcription service is opt-in and not required. No price options have been revealed at this time. Here’s an audio recording and transcription service in a couple of tests.

UPDATE: Thanks to Phade in the comments, we know that it costs $1.99 a month. [Sprint]

Features include:

  • Read your messages when you’re in an environment that is too loud to hear messages
  • Copy and paste information to your calendar, tasks, contacts, emails, etc.
  • Search your messages using keywords