It has been nearly three years since Apple unveiled the Siri voice assistant for iOS. It has now become a household name. In fact, voice assistants have become so popular, that even Android and Windows Phone have their own respective ones. On Android it’s Google Now, and on Windows Phone it’s Cortana. All three have proven to be extremely popular, and very useful when used correctly. It was only a matter of time when the fourth biggest mobile OS in the market got its very own personal assistant. BlackBerry has taken the wraps off BlackBerry Assistant, which is the Canadian company’s answer to Siri, Google Now and Cortana.
BlackBerry Assistant will be bundled with the upcoming OS 10.3 update. So what exactly can this new voice assistant do? BlackBerry Assistant will be able to search email and calendar, read information off of social networks as well as post on them, make appointments, mark emails read, set up reminders etc. It can also be used to find out trivial information such as lyrics to a song, information about the weather or a celebrity. Digging deep into the code reveals that BlackBerry assistant will be able to use third party apps as well, something which Siri still struggles with.
BlackBerry Assistant functionality will go beyond just basic search or using apps to get stuff done. It will also be able to change system settings. For example it could be used to set the phone to notify the user of incoming calls only simply by saying ‘phone calls only, please’. You could even ask it to turn on the flashlight, change the music track, set up alarms etc. There are tremendous amount of tasks you can ask it to perform.
What BlackBerry didn’t reveal is if the assistant will have a personality like Siri or Cortana, or will be ‘strictly business’ like Google Now. We also don’t know how the voice assistant will be activated. Hopefully more light will be shed on BlackBerry Assistant in the coming days.