It can't fetch you coffee, but the new assistant app coming to BlackBerry smartphones could make you more productive. BlackBerry Assistant is a new feature that pushes alerts to you, and lets you perform all sorts of hands-free actions. The feature, which follows in the footsteps of Siri on the iPhone, Google Now on Android and Cortana on Windows Phone, is set to launch on BlackBerry 10.3, a new operating system update due out later this year. Here are three features that make BlackBerry Assistant worth looking forward to.
Voice commands through BlackBerry Assistant can make you more productive, since they allow you to quickly complete tasks and trigger actions on your smartphone without stopping to tap a touch screen. For instance, it lets you set alarms and reminders with a simple command such as "Remind me to check my email when I get home." If you're in a meeting and don't want to be disturbed by alerts, you can activate BlackBerry Assistant and say "Phone calls only, please" to silence other notifications. Blackberry says Assistant will also let you launch apps on your smartphone, such as a flashlight or calculator, with a quick voice command.
Hammering out an email or text message on a small smartphone keyboard can be downright laborious. BlackBerry Assistant promises to make it easier to send messages with voice commands; just launch the service and say "Email (contact name)," then dictate your message. You can send a secure message via BlackBerry Messenger the same way. If you're driving, you can ask BlackBerry Assistant to read the message aloud to you. You can even archive the message, or mark the message as unread, using voice controls.
Need a particular bit of information? BlackBerry Assistant can help you retrieve it quickly and easily using voice controls. For example, you can launch the service and ask "What's the forecast for tomorrow?" or "How many feet are in a kilometer?" to get instant answers. That way you can spend less time fiddling with your smartphone and more time working.