Apple, Google Have to Catch Up to Microsoft

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2011-12-11 Print this article Print

Before he succumbed to cancer in October,  Apple founder Steve Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaccson that he had "finally cracked" the Internet television challenge.

High-tech analysts assumed Jobs was referring in part to the inclusion of the company's Siri intelligent personal assistant technology into a full TV set enabled by the Web.

"We also believe Apple could use Siri, its voice recognition, personal assistant technology to bolster its TV offering and simplify the chore of inputting information like show titles, or actor names, into a TV (typically with a remote)," noted Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.

However, Munster and his peers aren't modeling the new Apple TV to arrive until some time next year. Meanwhile, Google just launched its own Google TV 2.0 upgrade, refreshing its Android-based platform with its Honeycomb software and adding access to the company's Android Market application store. However, no voice activation is imminent for Google TV, a Google spokesperson confirmed.

"While we think voice integration will be powerful addition to the Google TV interface, we have nothing to announce at this time," a Google spokesperson told eWEEK, which believes the search engine provider will use its vast voice search expertise to add voice search to the Google TV service next year.

That means Microsoft has several months with which to seed the consumer experience with voice-activated Kinect. Some analysts don't believe this matters much. Gartner analyst Van Baker remains unimpressed by the inclusion of voice search to any of these platforms.

"I am still skeptical about voice control of the television due to the potential conflict from multiple voices in the room and ambient noise in the room," Baker told eWEEK.

"My suspicion is that any solution that was going to be a good one would have to include a profiling of the room at a given point in time and that is not something that consumers are likely to put up with. One of the reasons that Siri works reasonably well is that the consumer is speaking directly into the microphone and that is not likely to be feasible with a television as it would require another 'remote' in the living room. We will see what happens."


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