Tag - Assistant
There were intelligent assistants on iPhone before Siri, and there are now many of them on every phone, but Siri is the Hoover or Coca-Cola of them. It is the one you're talking about when you refer to speaking to your phone and getting sarky comments back. It's the one that has gone the further to making this Star Trek-like technology mainstream.
There must've been a day, perhaps even one specific hour, in which everything changed for the idea of Siri-like digital assistants at Microsoft. Up to this particular coffee break, Microsoft derided Siri as something nobody would ever use, and anyway it's just marketing hype. After washing up the mugs, it became the Microsoft derided Siri as not being as great as its own version, Cortana. Microsoft has done well with that impression: you expect Cortana to be better. Now Cortana 1.2.1 is on iOS, and we can see for ourselves. Short version: shrug.
Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant competing with Siri and Google Voice Search, is being made available on other mobile platforms than Windows Mobile for the first time. Following after a period of testing, Cortana is now downloadable on iOS with Android to follow later today and CyanogenOS support set to start from later this month, with the United States and China the initial launch countries that Microsoft is making the app available within.
Facebook is working on its own virtual assistant, usable within Facebook Messenger, according to a report. The social network is allegedly looking to compete with Siri, Google Now, and Cortana with a new assistant internally called "Moneypenny," a reference to the iconic secretary in the James Bond film franchise, though unlike its main competitors, Facebook is opting for more of a "concierge" approach, as well as focusing more on allowing users to acquire goods and services.
BlackBerry will include its own virtual assistant in a future version of the company's mobile operating system, the smartphone manufacturer has revealed. Taking its cue from Siri, Google Now, and Cortana, BlackBerry Assistant will recognize commands via voice recognition and entered text, and will be able to perform simple tasks such as searching e-mail archives or setting appointments, to more elaborate requests.
Microsoft will use data from Foursquare in its rumored virtual assistant for Windows Phone 8.1, thanks to a $15 million investment in the company, according to a report. The location data gleaned from Foursquare will apparently be put to use in "Cortana," a virtual assistant named after the artificial intelligence character from the Halo series of games.
Microsoft may be working on its own virtual assistant, in the same vein as Apple's Siri and Google Now. App listings that appeared in leaked screenshots for the next Windows Phone operating system release showed one item marked as "zCortana," something that is said to be a voice-controlled assistant that can automatically learn from its user.
Apparent new leaks have suggested Google is developing a very broad, multi-platform alternative to Siri. So far called Assistant, the concept TechCrunch saw would translate Google's search content into a "personalization layer" that would understand the relationships between data points. A voice-based recognition engine would, like Apple's system, focus on returning a key useful result or accomplishing a task, not just pushing a raw list of results.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive, Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl