Your Android phone may have some measure of voice commands baked in, but Vlingo's premium offering adds the capability to launch apps, update your Twitter status, and send e-mail and text messages when you bark orders at it. (We'd love to see voice commands for playing music and taking photo and video, too.) On top of that, Vlingo will also dial your contacts, plumb Google Maps, and search Google or Yahoo. We should mention that there is a short learning curve in picking up the right voice triggers to get Vlingo to search and perform tasks.
Like other solutions to minimize driving while texting, Vlingo has created its SafeReader feature that reads your incoming e-mails and text aloud. If your phone already comes with visual voice mail, SafeReader may be icing on the Vlingo cake for some, but not reason enough to purchase the app.
As far as performance goes, Vlingo missed a disappointing number of our commands from both the app interface and from the home screen widget. Vlingo may pick up on the timbre or cadence of some voices more efficiently than others, though we did expect a higher number of accurate results when speaking slowly, deliberately, and directly into the microphone.
In light of the errors we encountered in our tests, we'd prefer to see Vlingo adopt a freemium price structure for Android as it does on other mobile platforms, so folks could match their voice to Vlingo's sensitivity before committing to a purchase.