• After 15+ years, we've made a big change: Android Forums is now Early Bird Club. Learn more here.

Help Flaky Hands-Free Voice Dial (esp. Bluetooth)

I'm hoping for some new suggestions. I've read old threads about similar issues without any real resolution.

This is the most dangerous and overlooked problem that I have encountered since moving into a smartphone. I have an HTC One X (AT&T) that seems to have more than one problem using voice commands without accessing or viewing screen menus to initiate phone calls. Come on, "flip" phones have been able to do this easily and safely for over a decade.

I have two different Bluetooth devices, but the problem is consistent regardless of device. When I first got the phone and the BT devices, they worked to make phone calls, not great, but they did make calls successfully most of the time. Now I get a variety of trouble. There is no other problem using either device. The devices range in complexity, however the problems are identical. The everyday device is a simple Plantronics M155 ear/headset. The other is a Sena SMH10 (motorcycle) helmet comm device. In either case, music streams flawlessly and all other features work as the directions indicate. However, regardless of device, voice requests to dial result in the same problem(s).

First, if I have not used voice dialing for a while (why that matters or how long "a while" is, I do not know) when I press and hold the call button on either device, hear the "beep" and let go, usually I will hear the prompt (I assume this one is from the operating system) "Say call followed by the name and number" then I will announce "call _____" phonetically as the entry in the phone contact appears. Sometimes this works - ONCE. Often, the error ABRUPTLY comes up "DIDN'T CATCH THAT" sometimes even while I'm still speaking, and the phone will not answer the phone call button again at all - for... a while. It makes the beep, but there is no other response or menu. I don't know how to describe the length of time or reason! I will try rebooting the phone and the BT device, etc. and get the same issue; it simply ignores - does not answer the press and hold phone call button on the BT device after the faint beep. This is very frustrating and results in a complete lack of voice dialing features.

Second, sometimes the phone will, instead of using what I assume to be the operating system to dial, use Google Search to search the Internet and finally decide to check my phone for the name listing. Instead of a dark background with an "android" the screen has the white background using a Google search. This often results in a menu list to choose from, which is impossible to perform without seeing the screen AND hands-free, unsafe while operating a car, and well you get the picture if there is something important to say while my eyes are in the otherwise safe confines of the helmet wearing sun glasses, my phone in my buttoned and zipped jacket, and my hands gloved.

Please forgive my lack of technical terms, however be assured that I have had ample experience for a year and innumerable tries using these features and can follow directions. If I misuse a term, please feel free to interpret for me.

I have gone through each individual setting on the phone, including with and without Google Now. I set up Google search in my phone to check only my phone's contacts, etc., and not online, but to no avail, it seems Google wishes to have complete control regardless. Am I not hitting the correct combination of settings? Are there hidden settings, and how do I access them?

As I said before, the voice dialing seemed "fair" when I first got the phone and Bluetooth devices, but perhaps after the 4.1.1 update it went sour. Now it's usually not possible to place a call, although I persevere. Sometimes when I first change a setting, it works just for a while, then it's back to problems again.

Now that I've described the two most common issues, will anyone who reads this please offer up your helpful suggestions? Thank you!


We've been tracking upcoming products and ranking the best tech since 2007. Thanks for trusting our opinion: we get rewarded through affiliate links that earn us a commission and we invite you to learn more about us.