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SingTel unveils localized Siri-like app

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Siri? voice command? voice-enabled app?

Singapore Telcom (SingTel) has come up with an application that can rival Apple's voice-activated Siri feature of the iPhone 4S. The application is expected to be very popular in Singapore because it can understand "Singlish" or Singaporean English.

Siri was the much-talked-about feature of the iPhone 4S when it was released in October. It is an application that enables the user to control his or her iPhone using voice commands. But Siri also comes with some glitches. Since the release of the new iPhone, there have been numerous reports of Siri responding to commands with irrelevant answers or not understanding some instructions.

According to SingTel, its DeF!ND app will help Singaporeans who use "Singlish" avoid problems that users are experiencing with Siri. Singlish is a localized form of English with words borrowed from Asian languages.

SingTel described DeF!ND as a localized Siri-like application that is able to decipher uniquely Singaporean accents, names and locations.

DeF!ND was debuted when SingTel launched the iPhone 4S in Singpore. SingTel CEO Allen Lew run the app and gave it an instruction in a local accent. "We have a voice application capability in DeF!ND that is unique because it understands the local language, which the voice recognition engine within an international device like Apple doesn't quite have," Lew said after the launch.

"When we tried to test different voice recognition systems including Siri, we found that the Singaporean accent is pretty unique and the common international voice recognition systems don't quite pick up the nuance of how we speak. And of course our street names and our food names are very local so we developed and trained this new system to allow it to recognize it better," Lew added.

The DeF!ND app will be available for free on the Android platform and Apple's iTunes "soon," according to SingTel.

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