Siri Who? BlackBerry’s No-Nonsense Digital Personal Assistant “BlackBerry Assistant” is Here

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By Pavithra Rathinavel | July 18, 2014 1:20 PM EST

The digital personal assistants line-up is getting rife with one more entrant joining the already heavy pack of Apple's Siri, Google Now, and Microsoft's Cortana. Following the trend, BlackBerry has come up with its own digital personal assistant named "BlackBerry Assistant."

REUTERS/Mark Blinch
BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen holds up the unreleased Blackberry Passport device during the company's annual general meeting for shareholders in Waterloo June 19, 2014. BlackBerry Ltd posted a narrower-than-expected loss as the troubled smartphone maker's turnaround efforts started to pay off, raising hopes Chen can deliver on a pledge to return the company to steady profits.

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Apple's Siri made the concept of digital personal assistant sound very cool and the trend was followed and bettered by Microsoft's Cortana. Even though BlackBerry is very late in this arena, the voice-enabled BlackBerry Assistant seems promising.

BlackBerry introduced the new BlackBerry Assistant on Wednesday to a great opening. This new feature will provide the BlackBerry device users with voice-enabled assistance enjoyed by Apple's iOS and Google's Android users, says BGR.

It is worth noting that BlackBerry has unveiled a slew of devices in the recent past. With the entry-level new smartphone BlackBerry Z3 and the new phablet/tablet BlackBerry Passport with physical QWERTY keyboard and a never-before-seen square design leading the way.

Notably, BlackBerry Assistant feature will be available to all the handsets that run on BlackBerry 10.3 OS. It is destined to assist BlackBerry users with managing simple tasks (at this point) like searching emails, contacts and calendar, managing invitations and assisting in determining the topics that are trending on different social media. Similar to other digital assistants, BlackBerry Assistant will also learn and adapt to a particular user over a period of time and thereby assist better.

Donny Halliwell, BlackBerry's marketing executive stated that BlackBerry Assistant will not be too distracting or costly (resource-wise) but it will act as a great compliment in assisting the BlackBerry users, especially the BlackBerry Passport. However, the company has not revealed if BlackBerry Assistant will bring in the fun element that is akin to Siri. But for now, BlackBerry Assistant could be strictly business oriented.

Here is an excerpt from Donny's time with BlackBerry Assistant, "If I'm driving and I ask it to read my latest email message to me, it does so. I can then ask it to "Mark Unread" without having to enter the BlackBerry Hub. If I'm in a meeting and I type "Remind me to follow up with Matt about our whiteboard session," it builds me a reminder note that I can save without leaving the Assistant."

As BlackBerry's official blog puts it, "While BlackBerry Assistant might not be able to bring your morning cup o' Joe, but it will keep you organized, informed and productive."

Ultimately, BlackBerry Assistant is a no-nonsense digital personal assistant that is here to stay.

What do you think of BlackBerry Assistant? Will this no-nonsense helper be a winner among the flashy Siri and the interesting Cortana?

Interested readers should check out the following:

1.       Top 3 Killer Features of BlackBerry Passport - [Read]

2.       New BlackBerry Passport: Tablet With a QWERTY Keyboard - Killer Specifications, Release Date, Image/Video - [Read]

3.       BlackBerry Z3 vs. BlackBerry Z10 - Specifications, Features, and Price Comparison - [Read]

4.       Moto G vs. BlackBerry Z3 - Specifications, Features and Price Showdown - [Read]

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(Photo: REUTERS/Mark Blinch / )
BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen holds up the unreleased Blackberry Passport device during the company's annual general meeting for shareholders in Waterloo June 19, 2014. BlackBerry Ltd posted a narrower-than-expected loss as the troubled smartphone maker's turnaround efforts started to pay off, raising hopes Chen can deliver on a pledge to return the company to steady profits.
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