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Thanks to voice-activated personal assistants from the likes of Apple Inc. and Samsung Corp. there’s a lot more people walking around talking to “Siri” and “Galaxy” – but it looks like a new name will soon be added to that vernacular as BlackBerry Corp. announces it is releasing a similar feature in the next version, 10.3, of its BlackBerry OS.

BlackBerry-PassPort-assistant

BlackBerry Assistant is introduced in a blog post by BlackBerry employee Donny Halliwell, and he’s putting it to use on the BlackBerry Passport, the square-screened device that is also forthcoming. Much like other voice-activated personal assistants, the BlackBerry Assistant can be put into a mode where it actively listens for commands from its user. According to Halliwell, it will learn as you use it more often and more accurately respond to your requests.

BlackBerry-Assistant

Here’s the use-cases for BlackBerry Assistant that Halliwell lays out in his blog post:

  • While driving, he speaks to BlackBerry Assistant through a Bluetooth device. It reminded him about his anniversary date, so he sent a BBM message to his wife using voice dictation. He also searched the lyrics for the “Soft Kitty” song that fans of Big Bang Theory will be familiar with.
  • He also will just start typing while on the home screen and the BlackBerry Assistant offers actions based on what he’s input. The actions are completed without leaving the assistant app.
  • He has his email read to him and then marks it as unread with voice commands.
  • He types “Remind me to follow up with Matt about our whiteboard session” and it creates a reminder note for him.
  • He turns on and off the device’s flashlight with voice commands.
  • He changes his notification settings by saying “phone calls only, please.” (It’s not clear if manners are required to complete requests or not at this point.)

BlackBerry-Assistant-flashlightSo far BlackBerry devices have been best known for offering hard keyboard to those that are die-hard smartphone typists. With this voice-activiated assistant, it looks like they’re making room for some input that’s not directly tied to that hard keyboard. Whether this is as killer a feature as it is in the iPhone or Galaxy series of devices, which don’t offer hard keyboards, remains to be seen.

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  • joseph kiska

    awesome better then apple