Monday, March 31, 2008
Posted by Ed Hansberry in "Pocket PC Talk" @ 07:00 AM
One of my favorite things about my Windows Mobile device is Voice Command. I tend to prefer devices with larger screens and slide-out keyboards, but that makes dialing numbers a bit of a hassle, and impossible with one hand. Voice Command lets me get around that by just saying "Call Jim Smith on mobile." The problem is, if I say "Call Jim Smith at work" and his work number involves an extension, then unless you have the phone number configured correctly, you'll have to reach down and tap out the extension.
Fortunately, Windows Mobile has a built in solution, but it is quite well hidden and as far as I can tell, undocumented in the help system on the device. If you save a phone number from your call history, there is a menu on the lower left that says Pause, Wait and Cancel. Honestly, I am not sure what the difference between Pause and Wait is, other than one inserts a "p" and the other inserts a "w" after the phone number. I just use the "p" setting that seems to give a 2-3 second pause before continuing. So, if you enter a number as +1 (555) 888-0000p103, about 3 seconds after the number is dialed, your phone will dial 103, which is perfect for dialing extensions, especially with Voice Command. Note you don't need to be in the screen shown above to make this edit. You can use your on-screen keyboard or keypad. I only show that screen because this is where I found the feature. It looks very similar in the WM Standard screen.
What is sort of frustrating and a bit surprising is Outlook 2007 and Windows Mobile don't cooperate here. If you go into Outlook, open a contact and double-click a phone number, you will see an extension box. Outlook will convert that to "+1 (555) 888-0000 x 103" which is useless to Windows Mobile. It stops at the "x" character. What is even worse is if you enter the number on your Windows Mobile device and then edit it in Outlook, you might get "+1 (555) 888-0000 x pp103." Why doesn't the Windows Mobile team work with the Outlook team on this? Why doesn't WM recognize an "x" as a pause when dialing? Your guess is as good as mine on that one.
Note that this little trick works equally well on Windows Mobile Professional (Pocket PC) and Standard (Smartphone) version 6. I don't have a WM5 or earlier device to test this on, so those of you with earlier phone devices, post the results of your test. For all I know, this has been around since the Phone Edition devices of 2002. And if anyone plays around with the "w" versus the "p" let me know what that does too. :-)