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LG, Microsoft Seek To Give Siri Some More Competition

By   /  June 21, 2012  /  No Comments

Siri’s got more company: LG Electronics Quick Voice is scheduled to make its appearance on the LG Optimus Vu Android smart phones at the end of the month. Now there are three voice-enabled mobile personal assistants, including the Samsung S Voice on the Galaxy SIII Android smartphones.

Or maybe make that four? Microsoft and Audible have teamed up: Microsoft demonstrated some of the results on the Windows Phone 8 platform at its Windows Phone Developer Summit yesterday. It showcased the capability for developers to integrate speech response and recognition directly into software programs through APIs, so that users can have interactive voice conversations with their applications.

Microsoft general manager Kevin Gallo demonstrated capabilities with the audio book Game of Thrones. He asked the app not just to play the book, but to take specific actions like go to the next chapter, pause and search within it.  This conversation, he said, “was not just with the phone, but this was with my application…I got to exactly where I wanted to go without having to touch the screen.”

Quick Voice Comes to Korea

In its release announcing Quick Voice, LG noted that the voice assistant supports Web browsing, voice calls, texting, YouTube video requests, and simple conversation via natural language processing, supporting eleven applications in all. Among the questions it reportedly will answer for users in South Korea, where it will initially launch, in Korean of course, are inquiries into lunar calendar dates.

Meanwhile, Siri on iOS 6 – demonstrated earlier this month at Apple’s Worldwide Developers’ Conference —  adds more languages to its lineup. That includes Spanish, Italian, French, Korean and Chinese. Questions have been raised recently about whether there’s some censorship at play in its language releases for China, though. The developmental version that was released there has led some users to note, for example, that Siri gives garbled results when they ask for directions to Tiananmen Square, or about what happened there on June 4, 1989.

But since it’s a developmental version, many observers are cutting it some slack, noting that it can easily be a software issue rather than a free speech one.
Siri’s updates also includes availability on the new iPad. Among other new capabilities is that Siri can address sports queries – player stats, game schedules, and real-time scores. It also finds movies by locations or showtimes, opens apps, and lets users voice tweets and Facebook wall comments.

And, Apple says it is working with car manufacturers to integrate Siri into select voice control systems, so that users can speak voice commands to Siri using the button on the  steering wheel. Mercedes-Benz already has said that it is integrating Siri into it’s A-Class vehicles in Europe.




About the author

Jennifer Zaino is a New York-based freelance writer specializing in business and technology journalism. She has been an executive editor at leading technology publications, including InformationWeek, where she spearheaded an award-winning news section, and Network Computing, where she helped develop online content strategies including review exclusives and analyst reports. Her freelance credentials include being a regular contributor of original content to The Semantic Web Blog; acting as a contributing writer to RFID Journal; and serving as executive editor at the Smart Architect Smart Enterprise Exchange group. Her work also has appeared in publications and on web sites including EdTech (K-12 and Higher Ed), Ingram Micro Channel Advisor, The CMO Site, and Federal Computer Week.

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