It didn’t take long for Samsung to block the leaked version of S Voice from the Galaxy-s3 over the weekend, but now we’ve got a new version of that Android APK file to play with. Seeing as the app is running on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus with stock Android, there are a few functions, like note taking and voice recording, that don’t work because the Samsung TouchWiz apps are missing. Everything that is not connected directly to a TouchWiz app seems to work correctly, though.
From voice dialing, to inane requests for information, to hardware control… Samsung’s S Voice software has some serious skills. There are times I can see the foibles of the Vlingo technology that backs S Voice peeking through but it seems fairly polished, even in its current pre-release state.
What we see in the video is probably a fair estimation of what S Voice will be able to do at launch. It hits most of the points, but misses the occasional word. More complicated queries are more likely to be misinterpreted as well. I quite like the ability to toggle hardware features on and off, and launching apps by voice is handy too. There are apps in Google’s Play Store that claim to do this, but I have always found them to be sub-standard.
Because I was not running this app on a Galaxy S3, S Voice can’t be called up from any screen via the voice command, “Hi Galaxy.” I believe this is what’s going to make the service useful in some situations. If you want to do a Twitter update, for instance, you don’t even have to touch the phone. You can also start and stop timers, or change hardware settings without lifting a finger — just start talking to your phone like a crazy person.
I was more impressed with S Voice than I thought I would be. Most of the queries I tried work, and it is integrated well with core Android services. I would like a little more of the witty banter that made Siri famous, but that’s just for the immediate entertainment value. You shouldn’t be too broken up that S Voice won’t tell you where to hide a dead body — it’s good at things that matter.
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