Nuance unveils Nina, the virtual assistant for iOS and Android apps

Nuance, the voice recognition engine that powers Siri, today announced a new kind of digital personal assistant aimed at mobile customer service apps. Called Nina, she “transforms iPhone and Android mobile apps into powerful engagement tools that allow customers to serve themselves”. Nina promises to cover everything from paying your bills to getting answers to your questions to changing or adding service on the fly.

Built on the same voice recognition engine from Nuance that Apple licensed for Siri, Nina can be added to iOS and Android apps via a software development kit (SDK) issued today as part of the announcement. What’s best, Nina doesn’t require that you tediously type in your password for various services and instead recognizes your voice to provide secure authentication…


According to a media release, Nina, a pre-made virtual assistant persona, combines Nuance’s speech recognition, text-to-speech, voice biometrics and natural language understanding technology hosted in the cloud to deliver “an interactive user experience that not only understands what is said, but also can identify who is saying it”.

Nina “just gets you”, says the blurb on the product page.

It’s a pretty cool tech and conceivably useful to developers who’ve been waiting for Apple to open up Siri to third-party apps in that it brings the virtual assistant directly into an app, via the SDK.

Nina can give third-party apps their own voice and can be programmed to handle a variety of tasks, becoming a banking assistant, a travel assistant, an investment assistant, a hotel booking assistant  and what not.

The Nina Virtual Assistant SDK and cloud service is available now in US, UK and Australian English. Additional languages will be made available “later this year”.

Nuance also recently announced Dragon ID, a voice-activated phone unlock, and a new automotive platform, basically the Siri for cars.

What do you think about Nina, is she a threat to Apple’s Siri?