Which is more important: getting a product out first, or taking more time but getting it done right? The answer may be best explained by a video comparison between Microsoft's Tellme and Apple's Siri, both of them being the voice-enabled Jeeves (or Jeevette?) of their respective smartphone operating systems.
Let's rewind a few days back, where in an interview with Forbes, Microsoft's Chief Research and Strategy officer Craig Mundie asserts Windows Phone 7 had voice-enabled searching before Siri hit the global spotlight:
Around that time last year, Microsoft's Kinect for the Xbox 360 launched with much fanfare in the media, arguably at a comparable level as the iPhone 4S with Siri did. While Kinect was able to connect with and engage new customers, one can't really say the same for Tellme.
Take this video from Australian blog TechAU as an example. A Samsung WP7 phone and an iPhone are placed side by side, with the same voice command read to both of them simultaneously.
How did each device fare? Have a look:
Original: "Create a meeting tomorrow at 10 AM."
Tellme: Searching for "creating a meeting tomorrow at teen anal"...
Siri: OK, here's your meeting. Note that you already have a meeting about TAE Course at 8:45 AM...
Original: "Send text to Simone."
Tellme: Searching for "stain detector simo"...
Siri: OK, I can send a text to Simone Arnold for you... What would you like it to say?
Original: "What time is it in Perth?"
Tellme: Searching for "what time is it impo"...
Siri: In Perth, it's 5:00 PM.
Original: "Play artist Skrillex."
Tellme: Searching for "play artist screamworks"...
Siri: Now playing Skrillex.... [music plays]
It appears that, for the moment, voice recognition for Australian English needs work on Windows Phone, and that more commands should be recognized other than quickly falling back to searching for an unrecognized phrase on the Internet. Hopefully other English accents (or other languages) fare better than this!
We should note that both Tellme and Siri are still technically in beta and that both services are bound to improve within the coming months. So for the time being, Microsoft's claim that they had voice recognition features in Windows Phone before Apple did remains true. But the two being comparable on equal grounds may be a bit of a stretch.
Thanks Tech Star for the heads up on the forums!