This is interesting. Information from a tipster that wants to remain anonymous has revealed that work on Bahasa Malaysia support for Siri is now underway.
The tipster claims that work on gathering speech samples in Bahasa Malaysia have been completed sometime before the second half of this year. The samples were collected in Malaysia. The tipster added that the collation of samples for languages in various other countries is going on in as well. However, what the other languages were not specified.
Our informant says that there is no indication of when BM language support will be released.
If this is indeed true then it will certainly increase Siri’s usability in Malaysia but as we’ve discovered, local language support doesn’t mean that Siri is able to offer location-based information. In addition to that, due to the conversational method in which you interact with Siri, it still remains to be seen if the speech recognition software is able to interpret the generally colloquial manner in which Malaysians speak Bahasa Malaysia.
This is critical because Siri can forget about us all speaking proper textbook Bahasa because, let’s be honest here, that’s not going to happen. Many would rather revert to English rather than speak textbook BM to a phone.
So what do you think? Will Siri in BM be useful? Don’t forget to check out our Siri review as well, and if you’ve been waiting for the iPhone 4S to come to Malaysia, keep your browser locked on to SoyaCincau.com for the latest information about the iPhone 4S launch in Malaysia. If twitter is more your thing, we’re there as well, follow us @Soya_Cincau for the freshest servings of mobile tech news, reviews and analysis in Malaysia.
Sekian Terima Kasih.
Other than the improved camera, which has now been bumped up to 8MP with improved optics and a backlit sensor (from 5MP on the iPhone 4), the one feature that’s gotten everyone (including Malaysians) talking about the iPhone 4S is Siri.
At the unveiling of the iPhone 4S, it wasn’t the faster dual-core processor or the new iOS 5 operating system that got everyone talking, it was the voice recognition software that took centre stage. Siri is unique among voice recognition applications because it has the ability to not only understand what you say but also know what you mean when you say it.
With Siri, you don’t merely say commands like how you would with Vlingo or Google’s Voice Actions. With Siri you converse with the software and it talks back as if it was having a conversation with you. Siri doesn’t merely scour the web to look for answers, Siri crafts tailor-made responses for you and this makes Siri special amongst voice recognition software.
Along with this high degree of sophistication comes a multitude of things that you can get Siri to do for you. With Siri you can set reminders, set alarm and timers, you can send a text message or an email, check the weather, look for information on the web, schedule meetings, play your favourite music, find a contact in your phone, get directions and few more other things.
All this is fine and dandy but there’s a catch. You can only get Siri’s full functionality in the US. Many of the cool features you see in the Apple videos about Siri don’t work in Malaysia and many other countries outside of the US. In fact Siri can only understand three languages, English (in three accents – US, British and Australian) French and German. With such a limited scope, we initially resigned the Siri as just a gimmick from Apple – something that is definitely a conversation starter and interesting but not very practical or useful.
But is it?
To find out whether Siri is useful for iPhone 4S users outside of the US, especially in Malaysia we took the iPhone 4S for a spin.
Recently Google announced that its very useful Google Voice Search feature supports search terms in Bahasa Malaysia. Although the language support is new Google Voice Search is not, so instead of just doing a plain jane post about the announcement made by Google we’d thought we go a step further and test it out for ourselves.
So click on the video up top and see how Google Voice Search fared in deciphering Bahasa Malaysia search terms.
When Google launched Voice Actions, we thought that it was the coolest app of any smartphone ever. Being able to just speak commands to your phone to send emails and text messages means you save a bucket load of time on typing.
Let’s face it, virtual keyboards are not the best input tools for the serial Twitterer or IM addict. And we have to admit, although speaking what you want to text does not necessarily mean its faster than typing but it does make the task easier at the very least. whatever it is, there’s no denying that having a voice recognition app that is very accurate is useful in more ways than one.
The crappy part about Google Voice Actions is that you’ll need Android 2.2 to run it and you have to speak with an American slang. Let’s face it, there’s not a lot of devices out there that’s running Froyo (almost non-existent here in Malaysia) and for many of us who are not American wannabes, speaking in American is going to be a bit of a challenge.
Enter Vlingo, the awesome free alternative to Google Voice Actions and it’s pretty darn tooting good!