Tuesday, 24 July 2012

BlackBerry 10 beta release gets Siri-like voice command feature

Research In Motion (RIM) recently released an update to their developer alpha devices for BlackBerry 10 OS. One of the biggest features in the new build of BlackBerry 10 was the voice command feature with an operator whose voice sounds very similar to Apple’s Siri.

The new voice command feature is accessed by pressing the voice command button set between the two volume buttons in the developer alpha devices. It is still an early beta build so the voice command has limited functionality, but N4BB demonstrates that it has a universal search function, apart from calling and sending text messages. It may not yet be ready for prime time use, but it sounds very similar to Siri from Apple’s iPhone.

The voice command technology is speculated to be powered by Nuance, the same company that Apple acquired Siri from.

According to earlier reports, RIM had confirmed that BlackBerry 10 will include a video chat feature through RIM's popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service. This didn’t come as a surprise, considering that the BlackBerry PlayBook also has a Video Chat feature and the Dev Alpha devices being handed out to developers had front facing cameras. This was the first time RIM confirmed that there would be Video Chat available on BBM.

The upcoming BlackBerry 10 is highly anticipated. RIM recently released its developer tools for BlackBerry 10. Building a strong library of applications for the new BlackBerry platform is crucial to its success as its existing library of apps is far smaller than rival offerings from Apple and Google. Many of its available apps are incompatible with the upcoming BlackBerry 10. RIM is struggling to reverse years of slowing sales, delayed and disappointing product launches, and an embarrassing global outage of its prized network.

The updates to the developer tools help apps interact with each other, and make use of the BlackBerry network to push notifications to devices. RIM also opened App World in May to enable developers using a test device to share their work among themselves.

Last month, RIM reported an operating loss deeper than expected. The company said that it was reducing almost 10 percent of its workforce as it had delayed the BlackBerry 10 launch to the first quarter of 2013. The first devices to run BlackBerry 10 were originally expected to release early this year.

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