BlackBerry Introduces Siri-like Virtual Assistant

by Istvan Fekete on July 17, 2014

Artificial intelligence is a hot topic nowadays tech companies such as Apple, Google, are Microsoft are all experimenting with a new technology called ’deep learning’. This technology is the key to providing a seamless customer experience when using virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri, Android’s Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana.

But there is a new boy in town: BlackBerry has officially announced that it is stepping into the arena by launching BlackBerry Assistant. Their virtual assistant will be part of the forthcoming BB 10.3 operating system and will also come with the Passport, a new smartphone the Canadian manufacturer will launch.

As we previously noted Apple’s Siri still awaits an upgrade to deep learning, though this should arrive soon-the company, after all, wants to keep its customers happy.

The BlackBerry Assistant will offer similar functions to the other platforms’ virtual assistants: it can search through email and calendar appointments, the web, or social media, send emails, create a calendar event, and launch apps. Other features include actions such as reading emails aloud and marking them unread without using the keyboard. All of the aforementioned functions will be controlled by voice and BlackBerry says “you’ll be pleasantly surprised how accurate BlackBerry Assistance is at recognizing your requests.”

“I spend a lot of time behind the wheel and am often switching between multiple vehicles. Having an app that’s designed to be compatible with any Bluetooth device is key for vehicle safety. Just this week, I used it to remind me about a car appointment, a vet appointment and my anniversary. Then, it helped me send an ever-so-romantic BBM note from the car on my way home (all hands-free, of course). It was also my go-to when I needed to find the lyrics to “Soft Kitty”.”

Like the other virtual assistants the BlackBerry Assistant will get better the more you use it. It’s something that Microsoft promises with its Cortana assistant.

While this is great news for BlackBerry fans, there is a worrying factor: the company is putting high hopes into the future success of Passport, which features an odd square touch display and a new touch-sensitive physical keyboard. And let’s not forget that the BlackBerry Assistant arrives years after the competition has incorporated voice controlled virtual assistant into devices.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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