Nokia is gearing up for a big comeback in 2017, and the year has started with a new Nokia 6 smartphone, which has been officially launched in China. The mid-range Nokia 6 is priced at Rs 16,000 if you convert the pricing from China, and runs the Snapdragon 430 processor coupled with the latest Android 7.0 Nougat OS. But now it looks like Nokia is also working on a voice-assistant for its upcoming smartphones.
According to a report in Netherlands-based website called GSMinfo.nl, Nokia has filed an application for a trademark registration for its own AI-based assistant called Viki. According to the report, Nokia asking for its trademark to be protected in EU, and it mentions this as an assistant which will “combine all data sources into a single chat and voice-based interface.”
Of course, this is just a trademark filing, and Nokia could take its own time before it introduces an AI-driven voice-assistant on its smartphones. But let’s not forget this appears to be the focus for flagships in 2017. Samsung is already working on its own voice-assistant for its future Galaxy S8, and the same has been confirmed by the company. Samsung acquired Viv in October 2016, and this team is the same that helped create Apple’s Siri.
“Developers can attach and upload services to our agent,” said Samsung Executive Vice President Rhee In-jong during a press briefing last year, referring to the company’s AI assistant according to a Reuters report. “Even if Samsung doesn’t do anything on its own, the more services that get attached the smarter this agent will get, learn more new services and provide them to end-users with ease.” Samsung hopes to extend this assistant beyond smartphones, and link its other smart devices as well.
Google’s Pixel smartphones come with the Google voice-assistant baked into the OS. A long press on the home button triggers Google Assistant, which can interact with the user and keep a track of their appointments, events, and even suggest places for them. Given the kind of access, Google has to personal information of most users, their Assistant seems poised for success.
Then there’s Amazon Alexa, which has emerged as a powerful challenger to the Google Assistant, given the popularity of Amazon Echo device. There’s also the fact that other manufacturers like Lenovo, even auto company Ford, have tied up with Amazon to introduce Alexa on their products. Huawei announced Alexa would be pre-installed on the Mate 9 phone, when the latter goes on sale in US.
Clearly smartphone manufacturers are looking towards virtual assistants driven by machine learning and artificial intelligence as the future. And it seems, Nokia has plans to be part of this trend as well.