Forget Siri, Here’s No Nonsense Blackberry Virtual Assistant

BlackBerry has unveiled its SIRI equivalent voice-based virtual assistant called Blackberry Assistant, joining the top-notch tech giants Apple (Siri), Google (Google Now), and Microsoft (Cortana) in the race.

The Canadian mobile phone giant on Wednesday said on its its official blog post that the new voice-based virtual assistant will debut first on the BlackBerry Passport smartphone and will be a part of the upcoming BlackBerry 10.3 Operating System.

The official blog post says the BlackBerry Assistant interface, which has a microphone in a circle, resembling the Google Now, enables a user to press and give voice commands and the assistant will respond to spoken commands.

"BlackBerry Assistant is voice activated when I need it to be, and helps manage simple tasks on my device from searching my email and calendar, finding out what’s trending on Twitter, to sending trivia night invitations. The more I use it, the more it learns and adapts to me. The more I speak with it, the more tuned-in to my queries it gets. If you’ve had experience with other smartphone-based personal assistants, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how accurate BlackBerry Assistant is at recognizing your requests," said the official BlackBerry blog post.

It also hinted that the BlackBerry Assistant will get better once the user spends more time learning the process the way Microsoft’s Cortana advertises itself.

However, the blog did not reveal any time frame for the release of BlackBerry 10.3 OS, which will come with the BlackBerry Assistant.

Blackberry is on a cost-cutting strategy implemented by CEO John Chen, who entered a deal with Foxconn, to produce all upcoming BlackBerry devices.

Since the square-shaped ‘Windermere’ smartphone called BlackBerry Passport is set for a launch in September, the new Blackberry Assistant feature is also scheduled for the same time release, said unconfirmed reports.

BlackBerry Passport smartphone is said to feature a 4.5-inch display with a resolution of 1440×1440 pixels and offer a pixel density of 453ppi.

The company said: "BlackBerry Passport offers its size and aspect ratio to accommodate these characters, making it the ideal device for reading e-books, viewing documents and browsing the web. No more worrying about portrait or landscape modes, and no; you aren’t missing anything."

In Q2, the Canadian manufacturer sold 1.6 million phones, which is a sharp decline from the 6.8 million units it managed to sell in Q2 in 2013.

However, this is different from the Personal Assistant app that was released for Blackberry devices in 2009 to check bank account or to open up Personal Assistant and find a dashboard for all your online accounts. The app’s 256-bit encryption helps keep data secure, and to disable your mobile account if you lose your phone.

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