Using cell phones while driving, especially for texting, is now being met with strict law enforcement across the country. (Check out this latest list to see how your area is cracking down on this dangerous problem.)

But what if you absolutely need to reply to that work-related e-mail or don’t want to forget that witty reply to a friend’s text message? Dragon Dictation, a functional new iPhone app, is there to help.

Dragon Dictation is a free new app made available for download in the iTunes App Store last week. It quickly shot up to the most downloaded free app in the business section of the store in less than a week.

But what does it do? Well, the app serves as a free intro to Nuance’s “Dragon NaturallySpeaking Solutions.” They have a bunch of very expensive-looking business dictation solutions for PCs. But this iPhone app allows you to speak a text message or e-mail to your iPhone and have it converted into glorious type for your approval. The developer even goes so far as to claim it’s “5 times faster than typing on the keyboard.” You can also update your Facebook status or send a tweet using this app. It does it all, hands-free.

All you do is fire up the app, start speaking, say “period,” “question mark,” or “new paragraph” to get the appropriate punctuation, then review your prose upon completion. After that, you can send your words as an SMS text, e-mail or copy to clipboard for Facebook and Twitter usage.

Right off the bat, we check out the user reviews accompanying the app on iTunes. About 1,200 positive five-star reviews and 2,400 negative one-star reviews. Ouch.

It seems as if there has been some confusion over the privacy aspect of this app. When users first import their contact list into the app, it shows that list being uploaded to a database used by the software. Of course this is a worrying sight to see all your friends' and family’s personal information going off to some unknown place. However, the developer has been calmly reassuring users that they are only importing these names for easier reference when looking up who you are verbally trying to send your messages to. The app also exports your dictations to an external server to cross reference the data for errors and improve its accuracy. No one seems to be trying to put you on a telemarketing and spamming list, as far as I know, from what they say.

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The free price tag on this app is only for a limited time, so act quickly and download it while you can. Although, the accuracy on the app can be rated as good to very good immediately, try it out and you’ll see the speech recognition technology improves greatly over time as the software “learns” from your patterns.


Application: Dragon Dictation

Cost: Free

Use: Allows users to dictate text messages, e-mail, Facebook updates and tweets verbally.

Download iPhone App via iTunes.

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