Voice functionality has long played a central role in Google’s mobile and tablet operating systems but that hasn’t stopped Andy Rubin, the head of Android at Google, having a pop at Apple’s Siri voice assistant feature for iPhone 4S.
Speaking after yesterday’s launch of Ice Cream Sandwich in Hong Kong, which contained improved voice-to-text functionality, Rubin today commented that smartphones shouldn’t be viewed as gadgets to talk to but as tools for communication.
“I don’t believe that your phone should be an assistant,” states Rubin during an interview 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. To some degree it is natural for you to talk to your phone. We’ll see how pervasive it gets.”
“This isn’t a new notion. In projecting the future, I think Apple did a good job of figuring out when the technology was ready to be consumer-grade.”
While we at Life Of Android share Rubin’s concerns over the practicality of Siri, as well as its relative uniqueness, this outburst does strike us as a tad hypocritical. Especially since Google are still ploughing so much effort into their Translate app, which was updated last week to support conversations in 14 languages.
Still, we reckon the smartphone world would be considerably less interesting without all this geeky trash talk.