Apple’s Siri and Samsung’s S-Voice go head to head (video)

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?