While most analysts don’t favor BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB)’s future when it comes to non-enterprise sales, the company seems to think that in order to compete with others it requires something on par with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s Siri, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Now, and Windows’ Cortana.
BlackBerry is calling its new feature, that will come with the launch of BlackBerry OS 10.3 as well as its pseudo-table phone hybrid(?) BlackBerry Passport, BlackBerry Assistant.
Similar to the aforementioned assistants, Assistant begins with the microphone in the circle. Users can set reminders, launch apps, send BBM messages, search through e-mail and calendars, listen to recent e-mails, set the ringer to “phone calls only” and find out what’s happening on Twitter.
According to the BlackBerry Assistant blog post that BlackBerry published today, the Assistant will learn more about you as you use it as well as provide full hands-free use similar to Now’s “Ok Google” voice command that opens the assistant.
BlackBerry knows that it needs to focus on enterprise and the assistant is built with this understanding. It allows users to mark messages in the BlackBerry Hub as unread or change notification settings. While it’s built to work with BlackBerry specific offerings, BlackBerry didn’t speak much to how Assistant will work with third-party applications.
There is little danger of BlackBerry competing with Android or iOS, in fact, Windows phones will likely continue to steal remaining market share from BlackBerry as it looks for 20% in the next five years. That said, the tapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone until she switched to a BlackBerry Z10, demonstrates that BlackBerry remains a secure platform for corporate interests as well as governments and that is the company’s focus despite the fact that it continues to try and build newer devices to compete.