Watching a company launch innovative new products and services is easily one of the best parts of this job. On the flip side, watching a company’s competitors race to copy said new innovative products and services is hands down the most depressing thing we encounter on what sadly feels like a daily basis. Apple’s voice operated virtual assistant, Siri, which launched on the iPhone 4S in the fall of 2011, was copied by Samsung and rebranded as S Voice in May of this year. Now, just one month later, it’s LG’s turn with “Quick Voice”. Unlike Siri and S Voice, Quick Voice only works in one language, Korean, and in one country, South Korea. LG’s virtual assistant will support 11 applications at launch, and it’s set to land on the Optimus Vu and Optimus LTE II via a software update that should be coming out in a few weeks.
The bigger question here is whether or not anyone finds the whole voice guided user interface thing to be useful. Yes, telling your phone to wake you up at 07:00 tomorrow morning is a lot easier than finding your alarm application and fiddling with some touch screen controls, but what happens when you’re walking around town or hanging out with a group of friends? Are you seriously going to take your phone out of your pocket while riding a bus or subway and then compose a text message to your significant other by speaking out loud?
Like any new technology that gets introduced, there are a lot of skeptics that deride the concept by citing that there’s nothing wrong with the “old way” of doing things. This writer is one of those skeptics. In a world where we still point and laugh at people with Bluetooth headsets sticking out of their ears, how are voice enabled virtual assistants any better?