Phones and Assistants

“I don’t believe that your phone should be an assistant,” the Android chief said in an interview on Wednesday just after appearing on stage at AsiaD. “Your phone is a tool for communicating. You shouldn’t be communicating with the phone; you should be communicating with somebody on the other side of the phone.”

He was referring to Siri, of course, the new iPhone program that allows you to push a button, ask a question, and the device is ‘intelligent’ enough to work out what you’re asking or telling it to do. For instance, in one case an idiot asked it to find him a hooker, and it looked up escort services nearby for him.

I very much prefer Android and all, and this dude is fucked in the head. I’d love something Siri-ish for my Android. How many times (including just yesterday) have I needed to ring my wife on the drive home to get traffic advice? Push a button, ask where the wreck is so I can try to avoid it… that’d be great. Or as an easy note keeper when I’m in the middle of something, without having to fire up a voice recorder or a note pad to type something. “Siri, remind me to whatever”. Brilliant idea and I’m glad it’s going well.

Saying a phone is just meant for communications seems rather staggeringly naive in the face of what the Android and iPhone have helped smartphones become. Communication capabilities aside (voice, mail, texting, sharing photo or video, social networking, and a vast plethora of other options) it’s not like there hasn’t been an explosion of non-communications capabilities for the devices as well (games, assorted tools like a bubble level, GPS, and the vast array of porn that a connection to the internet provides… actually I guess that’s technically communication but whatever).

There’s also a mild irony in that a tiny digital assistant feature would make the phone a little more like its android namesake: a robotic assistant to help keep me organized? Yes please, I’ll have one of those. I eagerly await a robust equivalent of Siri for Android.