Print 44 comment(s) - last by rudy.. on Oct 24 at 1:32 AM

"You shouldn’t be communicating with the phone" -- Andy Rubin, Google

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer on Tuesday showed love for Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone and its "humble personal assistant" Siri at the AsiaD conference, stating, "Apple is a good competitor, but a different one.  Both [an iPhone and a Windows phone] are going to feel very good in your hand and both going to look very beautiful physically…"

But the next day his underling, Windows Phone Chief Andy Lees, was far less charitable.  He commented that Siri isn't "super useful" and argued that the similar voice assistant functionality found on Windows Phone 7 Mango is more useful.  Despite the fact that Siri uses the internet and plugs in to services like Wolfram Alpha (and, ironically Bing), he chastises that it's not a truly connected solution.  He says that Windows Phone's Bing-driven implementation gives you "the full power of the internet, rather than a certain subset."

Andy Lees interview
Windows Phone Chief Andy Lees gets queried by Ina Fried. [Source: AllThingsD]

He also said that Microsoft generally doesn't agree with Apple's premise of generally barking commands into your phone in public, though Microsoft does support such interaction targeted at specific environments, such as in the privacy of your car.

Similar criticisms were sounded by Android chief, Google, Inc. (GOOG) SVP Andy Rubin.  He comments, "I don't believe that your phone should be an assistant.  Our phone is a tool for communicating. You shouldn’t be communicating with the phone; you should be communicating with somebody on the other side of the phone."

Andy Rubin
Google SVP and Android chief Andy Rubin [Source: AllThingsD]

When it comes to talking to someone on the phone, he argues that's perfectly normal, stating, "To some degree it is natural for you to talk to your phone."

But when it comes to talking to a sassy AI agent he expresses skepticism that it will be a healthy or popular exercise.  He states, "We’ll see how pervasive it gets."

And he says that the tech is nothing new.  He pointed out that Android co-founder Rich Miner worked to bake a similar cellphone speech assistant into his company's OS, but that Google opted to stick with just commands, not a more talkative assistant.

He did offer some faint praise for Apple's app, admitting that it is polished, at the very least.  He remarks, "This isn’t a new notion.  In projecting the future, I think Apple did a good job of figuring out when the technology was ready to be consumer-grade."

Sources: Engadget, AllThingsD

Comments     Threshold

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Not good....
By Cheesew1z69 on 10/20/2011 12:11:56 PM , Rating: 5

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for the security firm Sophos, found that a person can speak a command into an iPhone 4S, even one that is locked and protected with a passcode, and Siri will provide an answer. Not only that, but, as Cluley demonstrated on a friend's iPhone, he was able to write an email and send a text message, all from the locked iPhone.

RE: Not good....
By Chaosforce on 10/20/2011 12:18:51 PM , Rating: 3
Always wanted a stenographer in my pocket.

RE: Not good....
By kleinma on 10/20/2011 12:34:56 PM , Rating: 5
and I thought you were just happy to see me.

RE: Not good....
By Mitch101 on 10/20/2011 12:45:04 PM , Rating: 4
On my Windows Phone 7 there is a checkbox "Use Speech when the phone is locked" They could add the same on iPhone 4s pretty easily. You still have to unlock the phone to get all the functionality.

Where I find it most useful is when my wife sends me a text I have my Windows Phone read is back to me then I can reply to her text using my voice. All while driving the car. I don't even need to see the phone just need to hold the windows icon which you just know where it is in the middle.

Its also great because you can tell your phone to open your applications so no need to even scroll or search through the list to get to your apps.

Im still experimenting like opening maps and the maps app opens now Im trying to see if I can give it navigation commands like a voice controlled GPS.

Voice control is really great. I could care less what others think if I talk to my phone. Eventually they will understand.

RE: Not good....
By bobsmith1492 on 10/20/2011 1:08:37 PM , Rating: 4
Hah, it is finally here! I predicted years ago that we'd be doing speech-to-text for a text message, then reading back with text-to-voice on the other end. It struck me as humorous at the time and still does!

RE: Not good....
By Mitch101 on 10/20/2011 1:48:30 PM , Rating: 3
And yet in a Galaxy Far Far away R2D2 can only beep. R2D2 needs a Windows 7.5 phone.

RE: Not good....
By Scrogneugneu on 10/20/2011 9:18:13 PM , Rating: 4
You should remember the first part : A long time ago.

Either the technology wasn't there yet, or R2 is simply cursing like there's no tomorrow.

RE: Not good....
By slunkius on 10/21/2011 2:17:32 AM , Rating: 2
in that universe there was no Steve Jobs to make an iPhone :)

RE: Not good....
By Owik2008 on 10/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: Not good....
By Paj on 10/21/2011 7:39:33 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah, but R2D2 isnt a protocol droid dammit! His job is to communicate with fighter systems. He doesnt need to talk.

RE: Not good....
By EricMartello on 10/20/2011 1:34:30 PM , Rating: 5
On my Windows Phone 7 there is a checkbox "Use Speech when the phone is locked" They could add the same on iPhone 4s pretty easily. You still have to unlock the phone to get all the functionality.

Checkboxes? Hah! Apple isn't one to jump on some unproven bandwagon like checkboxes. Sorry, you'll have to wait for iOS6 for that type of advanced functionality.

RE: Not good....
By augiem on 10/20/2011 3:55:39 PM , Rating: 2
Apple lives by the idea that too many options will confuse users. Options are so scary!

RE: Not good....
By ekv on 10/20/2011 8:16:40 PM , Rating: 2
you'll have to wait for iOS6 for that type of advanced functionality.
Don't forget the patents and IP lawsuits....

RE: Not good....
By rudy on 10/24/2011 1:29:42 AM , Rating: 2
This is the sad thing out where I am all these people think Apple invented this and it is not even possible on other phones. Why doesn't M$ or google get off their asses and advertise they already had these features. Really it's the main differnce between apple and everyone else apple advertises what they can do even if they were the last one to do it.

As for the crazy note, it is kinda true, I will use voice recognition on my android phone when I am alone to write things but not in public, It seems disruptive and rude to me.

RE: Not good....
By macrogeek on 10/20/2011 2:29:04 PM , Rating: 2
Siri can be disabled on locked phones. It's in with the passcode settings. (if you set up a lock on a new iPhone you see this option when you create the code)

If you had your passcode set up previously and want to lock Siri it's in
Settings - General - Passcode Lock, then flip the Siri toggle to Off "Do not allow access to Siri when locked w/ passcode"

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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