Microsoft airs Cortana vs. Siri ad showing contextually-aware tasks

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 28, 2014

Microsoft on Monday shared a new television commercial which the company first showed off at its annual conference back in April to rally up developers who were concerned that the software giant was losing its mojo.

The 30-second video depicts a showdown between Cortana, Microsoft’s own digital personal assistant baked into Windows Phone 8.1, and Apple’s Siri.

Microsoft’s assistant is shown completing a number of contextually-aware tasks using a plethora of services and data sources… Read More

 

Beijing ruling spells trouble for Apple’s Siri in China

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 9, 2014

Apple’s ability to use Siri as a competitive weapon in the 1.33 billion people market of China – its second-largest market by revenue – could be compromised. A Beijing court has now ruled against Apple by upholding the validity of a patent related to the personal assistant feature held by a Chinese company called Zhizhen Network Technology.

The ruling clears the way for Zhizhen to continue its own case patent infringement case against Apple. Specifically, the Shanghai-based firm is now asking the court to block Apple from selling devices with Siri installed. The iPhone maker is of course expected to appeal the verdict… Read More

 

Apple assembling in-house speech synthesis team to supplant Siri’s Nuance with better tech

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 1, 2014

As we’ve written before, Apple has created Siri in a modular manner, so that it could easily replace her Nuance-powered speech recognition engine with a similar piece of software. Siri since its inception has been reliant on Nuance technology, but things look to be changing sooner than later.

The company is reportedly assembling an in-house team of speech synthesis and voice recognition experts tasked with developing a proprietary technology that could supplant Nuance and give the personal assistant a “neural network” boost… Read More

 

Siri creators develop Kasisto, virtual personal assistant for business

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 27, 2014

SRI International, the startup behind the Siri personal assistant that Apple famously bought four years ago and implemented across its iOS device lineup, has spun off a new company called Kasisto that has developed a namesake personal assistant for businesses, Re/code reported Friday.

The business-minded personal assistant is aimed at companies wishing to implement Siri-like functionality within apps for industry verticals such as healthcare, automotive and more. Companies can train Kasisto for specific areas to perform complex tasks, which often require deep domain knowledge and human interaction… Read More

 

Samsung could acquire Nuance, the company behind Siri’s speech recognition engine

By Joe Rossignol on Jun 16, 2014

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Nuance Communications has been in talks with Samsung and private-equity firms about a possible sale of the company. The report, which cites sources with knowledge on the matter, claims it is unclear where sales talks currently stand, or whether these talks will actually materialize into a sale… Read More

 

Traces of Preview, TextEdit, standalone iTunes Radio and Siri API discovered in iOS 8 code

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 10, 2014

As a prominent iOS developer noted on Twitter, looks like Apple is actually toying with a standalone iTunes Radio app, as previously suspected.

In addition, Apple looks to be prepping new stock iOS 8 apps - TextEdit and Preview – as well as potentially enabling third-party Siri access.

Code hooks and hidden assets discovered in the iOS 8 Beta code seem to support these findings, largely corroborating much of the earlier findings by prominent Apple blogger Mark Gurman.

Note that this is no guarantee that Apple will roll out these features – that is, it will only introduce them when they’re ready for prime time. For example, The New York Times previously reported that split-screen functionality didn’t make the cut in iOS 8. With that in mind, it’s fairly safe to speculate that Preview, TextEdit, third-party Siri access and a standalone iTunes Radio could be slated for the iOS 8.1 updateRead More

 

iOS 8 adds always-on ‘Hey, Siri’ feature, Shazam integration

By Cody Lee on Jun 2, 2014

Adding to the long list of new features in iOS 8 is a handful of Siri improvements. The digital assistant didn’t get a ton of stage time, but iOS/OS X chief Craig Federighi did take a moment to run down some of its new capabilities.

In iOS 8, Siri will be able to handle dictation—where you talk, it types—in 22 new languages (not sure which ones yet, but will obviously be available on Apple.com soon), and will feature Shazam ID technology for identifying songs… Read More

 

OkSiri: always-on voice recognition for Siri

By Jeff Benjamin on May 29, 2014

One of my favorite things about Android is the “OK Google” command that allows you to perform quick voice searches on a whim. Now iPhone users can (sort of) join in on the fun.

OkSiri is a brand new jailbreak tweak that brings always-on voice recognition to iOS 7 devices. Have a look at our video walkthrough inside for a demonstration of how it works. Read More

 

Siri coming to Apple TV, iOS code strings suggest

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 23, 2014

Apple on April Fool’s Day released iOS 7.1 with CarPlay, Siri/Touch ID improvements and more.

As part of the launch, the company has posted the final version of the official iOS 7.1 software development kit (SDK) that programmers use to take advantage of new features.

Enthusiasts frequently comb through iOS code in search of leads that would indicate upcoming new features or devices and iOS 7.1 SDK is no exception. In fact, eagled-eyed fans have spotted a couple interesting references in the iOS code possibly pointing at Apple’s digital personal assistant coming to Apple TV boxes… Read More

 

GoogolPlex will ‘unleash the power of Siri’ with Nest, Philips Hue, Spotify commands

By Jake Smith on Apr 17, 2014

Siri within iOS 7 can be limited sometimes, thanks to Apple’s “walled garden”, but a new tool called GoogolPlex wants to change that by opening the voice assistant to new commands.

Self described as the “App Store for Siri”, GoogolPlex opens Siri to work with Spotify, Philips Hue, the Nest Thermostat and more, just by an iOS user changing a few proxy settings… Read More

 

Apple purchased speech recognition firm Novauris last year to bolster Siri team

By Cody Lee on Apr 3, 2014

Just a day after Microsoft unveiled its digital assistant ‘Cortana’ to rave reviews, news has surfaced that Apple has been making moves to bring its own assistant up to speed. TechCrunch is reporting this morning that the Cupertino company has purchased speech recognition firm Novauris, and the group is now working on the Siri team.

Novauris is highly-regarded in the world of speech recognition. Founded in March 2002 by well-known speech researchers and ex Dragon Systems engineers, the firm’s technology is used in a variety of products by companies like Verizon Wireless, Panasonic, Alpine and BMW, and can be operated in both the embedded and server space… Read More

 

Microsoft finally unveils its Siri competitor ‘Cortana’

By Cody Lee on Apr 2, 2014

It’s been nearly three years since Apple unveiled Siri on its iPhone 4s, and Microsoft finally has its answer to the digital assistant: Cortana. Named after a virtual character in the company’s popular Halo gaming franchise, the feature is powered by Bing and offers a mix of Google Now-ish and Siri-like characteristics.

We first got a glimpse of Cortana earlier this year courtesy of a developer leak, but Microsoft officially unveiled her this morning at its Build Developer Conference in San Francisco. The assistant will ship alongside several other new features in the Windows Phone 8.1 update, expected to launch in the next few months… Read More

 

Siri guide: everything you should know about Siri

By Jeff Benjamin on Mar 8, 2014

Siri is a personal assistant feature found on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, that allows you to use your voice to control your device. You can use Siri to send messages, emails, tweets, and more. You can also use Siri to get movie showtimes, sports scores and times, make dinner reservations, etc.

The great thing about Siri is that it doesn’t require you to look at your device’s screen in order to interface with it. And Siri is smart enough to consider your location along with the context of your commands and conversations. By doing so, Siri can respond intelligently to your requests.

Inside, we’ll teach you some of the history of Siri and show you some of its basic usage features. We’ll then present to you with an exhaustive list of voice commands, and discuss Siri’s dictation features. Check inside for all of the details… Read More

 

Apple rumored to open up Siri to 3rd party apps with iWatch in mind

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 5, 2014

According to a new report by The Information, a technology blog former WSJ writer Jessica Lessin started recently, Apple will open up Siri to third-party developers.

Such a move would let folks use the smart personal assistant to control their favorite apps. The development is believed to be closely tied to Apple’s work on its rumored wearable project, the iWatch.

This would mark a significant advancement for Siri, which since its October 2011 inception has been expected to allow for spoken commands and interactions in third-party iPhone and iPad applications… Read More

 

Mercedes-Benz posts CarPlay video tour showcasing real-world Siri integration

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 4, 2014

After Volvo yesterday posted a nice hands-on video highlighting Apple’s newly launched in-car system dubbed CarPlay (previously known as iOS in the Car), Mercedes-Benz (one of the three CarPlay launch partners) has posted a video tour of its own which gives us a hands-on demo of CarPlay in its new C-Class and showcases real-world Siri integration.

The clip depicts a driver using Siri to get visual directions with a little help from Apple Maps and using a dedicated hardware button to interact with Apple’s smart voice assistant. As previously stated, CarPlay does not allow for third-party mapping apps such as Google Maps… Read More

 

Meet Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Siri

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 3, 2014

The Windows giant Microsoft will be introducing its upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 update at the Build conference next month.

With it comes Cortana, a Microsoft-branded personal digital assistant that includes functionality provided by Apple’s Siri and Google’s Google Now voice-activated assistants.

It also has a few nice features not provided by Apple so perhaps competition from Microsoft (and Google) will prompt the iPhone maker to roll out new Siri features sooner than later. The Verge has an exclusive look at Cortana’s interface and some of its features, here are the highlights… Read More

 

Introducing Moov multi-sport fitness tracker, your new personal trainer

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 27, 2014

Time to meet your new coach. Introducing the Moov, a new wearable device conceived by a three-person startup led by a former Apple engineer. Not only does it track your activities, it gives you personalized tips to improve your workout performance.

The brainchild of Nikola Hu, a smart engineer who used to work at Apple, and his colleagues, the Moov is packed with nine-axis sensors like accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer.

Thanks to the data gathered by these sensors and clever programming, the Moov can sense both motion and 3D form to improve your performance.

The biggest selling point of the Moov is its software which can provide real-time audio advice and feedback. It uses 3d motion reconstruction technology to analyze and distinguish between a bunch of activities like running, biking, swimming and weight lifting, to mention just a few.

And if you’re into boxing, the Moov does that, too – it’s even capable of measuring your power and form, giving you a report card at the end of each session detailing how many calories you burned, your progress against previous workouts and what not.

It gets even better: because each tracked activity is an app of its own, such a modular system allows developer to easily introduce support for new activities via firmware updates and new app releases… Read More

 

Apple taking China’s patent office and Zhizhen Network Technology to court over Siri

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 24, 2014

According to a report by China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency, Apple is suing both the country’s State Intellectual Property Office and Shanghai-based Zhizhen Network Technology. The main point of contention: patent rights to Siri.

Now, eagled-eyed readers may remember that Zhizhen back in July of 2012 actually filed a case first against Apple as it felt Siri had infringed upon its patent for an instant messaging chat bot system called Xiaoi Bot.

Apple asked China’s State Intellectual Property Office, which is in charge of patent rights protection in China, to invalidate Zhizhen’s patent, but the request was declined. In turn, Apple is now suing both the patent office and Zhizhen… Read More

 

Huawei video teases new devices by slamming iPhone and Siri

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 17, 2014

Chinese handset vendor Huawei’s video is teasing new smartphones, tablets and phablets coming. The clip has an iPhone owner conversing with Siri, Apple’s digital personal assistant.

The narrator asks Siri about new things coming to Mobile World Congress this year, which runs February 24-27 in Barcelona, Spain. To this, Siri responds in a rather robotic, slow-talking voice that there will be “a new tablet with a beautiful slim design” with a “huge battery” that “gives you days of use,” likely referring to new Huawei devices.

She also says: “One more thing: this device can even support the next generation LTE network.” Not sure about the ‘even’. It’s 2014 and LTE compatibility is hardly worth getting excited about in your talking points.

The video closes with the narrator asking, “Wow! What are they Fruit or Some Song?” Siri replies: “No. They are Huawei. It looks like Huawei is ready to amaze the world again”. I’ve included the video right after the break so give it a watch and meet us in comments… Read More

 

Chevy’s new Equinox ad stars Siri Eyes Free and it’s funny

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 10, 2014

General Motors a few days ago started airing a new television commercial for its brand now 2014 vehicle, the Chevrolet Equinox. The car features integration with Siri Eyes Free, an Apple-made voice-activated system which debuted in 2012 allowing drivers to interact with Siri on an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad using their voice, without taking their hands off the steering wheel.

Watch now how a perfectly normal conversation between a husband and wife goes wrong thanks to Siri… Read More

 
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