RIM to feature Siri-esque assistant for BB10?

It’s been delayed until the start of next year, but Research in Motion will be betting that a personal assistant will hope boost the sales of the fledgling BlackBerry 10.

Videos and reports have been released of what appears to be a very alpha-stage voice controlled programme on the BB10 Dev Alpha device.

According to the CrackBerry forums, the assistant is able to open browsers, play music and make appointments, but so far hasn’t cracked specific Google searches, currency conversion or mental arithmetic.

Also, while it can tell the time and the weather, the BlackBerry virtual assistant is stumped when asked the time in a specific, different time zone, or specific temperatures in another country. Most of the time it will deliver a “do you want to search the web for...” message.

The technology is activated after the user presses the mute button, after which the assistant says: “Please say a command after the beep”.

The RIM saga of the past couple of months has been well documented. Back in May RIM boss Thorsten Heins previewed and released stripped down BB10s to a select group of developers at the BlackBerry World conference in Florida.

Evidently a lot of the tech is still at the hit and miss stage, and it’s yet to be confirmed whether the virtual assistant will actually be on the new BlackBerry or not.

Yet of course Siri isn’t without her faults, with a litany of websites pointing out the misunderstandings the Apple-based assistant has made.

But the question is: is this an attempt from RIM to keep up with the Joneses, or is there a gap with which to overtake the market leaders with BB10?

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