Since RIM released the new OS update for the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha we have learned a few new things that RIM has baked in. We now have a solid indication that RIM is building in on device voice search and command capabilities to compete with Apple’s Siri and Google. The version of voice search built into the dev alpha is very rough around the edges and you can tell that it is hampered by the fact that the Dev Alpha OS is locked down from consumer features. Right now it also interchanges between a woman and man responding to your requests along with you having to wait for a beep to say your command. Hopefully that gets ironed out nicely.
The voice recognition allows you to say commands to the Dev Alpha like “search BerryReview” for searching the web or the device and “Go To BerryReview.com” to browse to a website. You can also tell the device to message (SMS) or call someone but right now it is not working because we don’t have address books on the Dev Alpha. The Search option pulls up a universal search which has some built in options right now that hint to Bing being the search engine though sometimes it pulled up Yahoo. It also showed searching App World, Wikipedia, Music, YouTube, and a few others.
While the commands still need some work I am really impressed with the voice recognition capabilities on the device. It seems to get me with my Californian accent and I even tried tripping it up a few times. Hopefully we hear more about this soon and RIM allows devs to build the voice commands into their apps and tie in their own voice handlers for custom commands that work from any other app.