The Verge was first out of the gate today with its exhaustive review of Samsung’s Galaxy S III handset. A section of the piece provides an interesting side-by-side comparison of two intelligent personal assistants, Siri on the iPhone 4S and Samsung’s darling dubbed S-Voice.

Both features work as advertised (well, most of the time), amuse with canned responses, delight with factual answers – all the while letting you converse with your handset using natural language rather than remember a bunch of hard-coded commands.

Siri and S-Voice also score similarly in handling common tasks such as pulling local weather, creating appointments and reminders and what not. And of course S-Voice is a blatant rip off of Siri’s user interface. Apple’s digital secretary appears to be snappier at running queries and S-Voice at times has a hard time understanding what you want.

And here’s a nice side-by-side comparison video laying it all out for you…

The Verge sums it up nicely:

S Voice consistently chews up my words when I try asking it questions, although it works better when instructed to schedule an appointment or set an alarm. It can also be used as an unlocking mechanism once you pre-record a pass phrase.

That adds to the face unlocking option that’s native to Android 4.0 in being frustratingly unwieldy and planted firmly within gimmick territory — more than once I was stuck repeating “hello” without any recognition from the phone.

Without further ado, here’s a showdown between Apple’s Siri and Samsung’s S-Voice.

A couple observations here.

Firstly, as noted by reviewer Vlad Slavov, “neither Siri nor S Voice is good enough in its present incarnation” as both are presently “too constrained and unpolished to truly perform” their respective roles.

Secondly, Siri’s voice recognition uses world-class natural language processing technology from Nuance.

As you know, Apple acquired Siri in April 2010 for a rumored $200 million (and Steve Jobs originally hated the Siri name).

Nearly nine months later, Siri is still in beta (some interesting stats here), though a Nuance executive says it “set a new bar”.

S-Voice was developed by Vlingo, a company which Nuance is in the process of acquiring. Vlingo also powers voice recognition in a similar feature on the Galaxy S II handset, called Voice Talk.

Nuance, which recently launched a new ‘Siri for cars’ platform, claims by far the most intellectual property in speech synthesis technologies in the industry, according to Siri co-founder Norman Winarsky.

We also know that Siri’s speech recognition component is modular so Apple should have no issues ditching Nuance if a better technology comes along.

What did you think of the comparison video?

  • jose castro

    lol i figured as much

  • Apple should buy nuance and wolphram alpha with some of those billions they have lying around


    LOL, he couldn’t just say 3!

  • Maybe he should’ve spoken in his native tongue?

  • Will greece exit the euro?

    will free sex and the…………………………….


    • Anonymous

      That was hilarious.

    • Anonymous

      Youtube caption translated from speech was like
      “will police fixes the europe.”

  • Free minutes… thats what I hear too lol. The biggest problem with both is their trouble understanding accents. Like some else here suggested, maybe if he set the language to his native tongue it may work better but Siri is still missing lots of languages and I don’t even know how many S-Voice has. Looks like S-Voice has more support for different locations though.

  • Anonymous

    siri wins

  • Siri is much more polished

  • Martin Lee

    I’d just like to point out that the iPhone is connected to Wifi where as the S 3 isn’t…. don’t really think this test is very fair …. ooops 🙂