Published on May 5, 2012
Samsung Galaxy S III (3) - S Voice Feature
Samsung has literally just taken the wraps off of their new flagship Galaxy S III smartphone, and we have all the details, specs, and hands-on video. One of the many new impressive features is S-Voice, a Siri rival specific to Samsung's Galaxy S III. With voice actions similar to what we've already seen in Google Voice Actions, but taken a step further.
Samsung has improved on Google's already available voice actions to take on Apple's Siri with its S-Voice system. Which allows you to unlock the phone with a customizable verbal command, and then instruct it to load apps, set calendar appointments, do searches or other tasks simply by speaking at the phone. "What's the weather for today?", "I want to take a picture" and "Cheese!" are all supported. If you're listening to music, you can tell S-Voice to skip, go back, play and pause, with the Galaxy S III automatically spotting your commands in among the music.
One important feature that is a step above Siri is the fact that with Samsung's S-Voice you can actually open and launch apps with your voice, not just check the weather and set an alarm. While driving you can launch Spotify to stream music, open Google Maps, and many other things all with S-Voice. This brings total hands-free usage to an entirely different level that Samsung has imagined daily users can truly use and enjoy. Don't get me wrong, Zooey Deschanel is cute in that Siri commercial, but I want Kate Upton in a Samsung S-Voice commercial then we'll really be rocking.
Check out all of our Samsung coverage, pictures, videos and everything else from the timeline below. Who wants the Galaxy S III? I know I do!
S Voice is Samsung's answer to Apple's Siri. Both are digital assistants that promise to make our lives easier by allowing us to interact with our smartphones via the power of our voice. We are not just talking about voice commands here, but real spoken language commands that will, in theory at least, be interpreted by the handset and then acted upon accordingly. That's the plan, anyway, but anyone who has used Siri will attest, it is not always the most accurate of things.
Which brings us to Samsung's apparent rip-off knock-off version of Siri.
From initial feedback from people that have been lucky enough to get their hands on the Galaxy S III at today's event, S Voice is very similar to Siri in that it works in much the same way, but with some added bells and whistles that could actually prove rather useful.
One of those bells is the ability to set a wake-up command that will unlock the device using just voice. The handset learns a user's voice beforehand and thus can only be unlocked by that particular person. The theory here is that the feature is nice and secure, but then that was the idea behind Ice Cream Sandwich's facial recognition unlocking feature, too, and we all know how easily fooled that is.
Voice recognition and understanding is apparently on a par with Apple's assuming your accent fits, and S Voice is undoubtedly streets ahead of the standard Android voice recognition feature that users have had to put up with until now. We suspect this technology will eventually feed back into Android at an OS level at some point, but until then it seems that Samsung has the upper hand across the Android platform.
Whether S Voice has the chops to go toe-to-toe with Siri remains to be seen -- we haven't been able to test it ourselves just yet -- but we suspect Samsung's effort will fall foul to the same issues that have befallen Apple's. Simply, real people don't use voice commands in real, everyday life. The ability to wake a phone up using voice may go some way to changing that, but we won't be able to answer that until real people start using the Galaxy S III in their real life situations.
Until then, we'll just have to sit back and await the inevitable legal battle between Apple and Samsung over just who has the various patents and such for a smartphone-based digital assistant.
You know, because there aren't enough legal spats going on right now.
Let's get down to business, first, let's see a video compiled together by our very own Steve Chi of Siri on the iPhone 4S:
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