BlackBerry working on Siri-like feature
By: Tom Manning - July 17, 2014

BlackBerry is working on a Siri-like feature to keep up with its smartphone rivals. Apple has Siri, Google has Google Now, and Microsoft has Cortana, leaving BlackBerry out in the cold. BlackBerry's virtual assistant will be called BlackBerry Assistant, and will launch with BB OS 10.3 which will launch in the fall. Yes, the BlackBerry Passport will feature BlackBerry Assistant.

The BlackBerry Assistant will not only work via voice, but will also be compatible with the keyboard. That is not the only differentiator that BlackBerry is shooting for however. The company says BlackBerry Assistant will do things competitors don't do.

There are several commands that are supported by BlackBerry Assistant that other virtual assistants cannot perform. You can ask BlackBerry Assistant to read your latest e-mail and then tell it to “mark as unread.” You can tell BlackBerry Assistant to “turn on the flashlight” or “turn off the flashlight.” I asked Siri to turn on my iPhone’s flashlight and it said “Sorry, but I’m not able to do that.” You can say “phone calls only, please” to BlackBerry Assistant and it will turn off all of the sounds, except the phone ringer. This could be useful when you are expecting an important phone call, but do not want to interrupt a meeting otherwise.

It looks like BlackBerry is still fighting on all fronts which is great news!


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