Driving and mobile devices don’t mix well if your smartphone or tablet ends up breaking your focus on driving. But with voice-enabled apps, you can still interact with your device for much-needed information. Chief among these are location and reading messages aloud. Dragon Mobile Assistant now offers these enhancements in its latest update.

Nuance — which powers the technology behind Siri — launched Dragon Mobile Assistant in 2012, which came with dictation features, which would usually come in handy when you need to type in a message while using the device hands-free. With the latest update, the app will now read your text messages and emails aloud. A few other features:

  • You can ask Dragon to send your location to someone in your contact list. “Tell Bogdan where I am” sends a message to your friend, with a link to your location on the map.
  • You can ask Dragon to locate a person from your contact list. For instance “Where is Darcy” will try to retrieve that person’s location, assuming the other party gives permission.
  • The app can scan your calendar for pending calls, and will alert you when these calls are up. It will ask you whether to call the contact, and will automatically do so if you tell it to.
  • You can respond to emails and text messages through voice, as well.
  • Bluetooth headsets are now supported.

The key benefit of Dragon Mobile Assistant, of course, is that touch-based interactions are minimized, which means your hands and eyes are free to focus on your work or whichever it is you need to focus on. A note while driving, though: even hands-free interfaces take away some of your focus from the road — much like conversing with a passenger or changing the radio station — which means you should really try to avoid interacting with your smartphone while on the road. And do take note that different countries and states have differing laws pertaining to handsfree device usage.

Check out the demo video below.

J. Angelo Racoma
J. Angelo Racoma has written extensively about mobile, social media, enterprise apps and startups. Angelo develops business case studies for Microsoft enterprise platforms, and is also co-founder at WorkSmartr, a small outsourcing team that offers digital content and marketing services.