Today, Nuance’s Nina voice recognition software got a lot of coverage in the press. It’s another speech UI app designed for iOS and Android, but its big differentiating factor (besides voice biometrics that can tell who’s speaking) is the fact that it will include application programming interfaces for third party developers so that they can integrate and extend Nina’s speech interface capabilities. Just about every news report about Nuance’s Nina will compare it to Apple’s Siri which certainly does not allow for 3rd party app integration, but really we should be comparing it to the new speech interface that was announced as part of Windows Phone 8.
We don’t yet have any technical details about exactly how Nina will work on iOS and Android, but it seems like 3rd party developers will be able to (perhaps) purchase and include the Nina virtual assistant software within their apps and use the Nina SDK to integrate custom speech UI functions within their app. The Nina component within the app will connect to Nuance’s cloud services in order to help with the voice and biometric recognition. It does not sound like Nina will have any way of functioning as a centralized speech UI that can give you access to all apps at one time and it certainly won’t be able to replace Siri as a centralized speech UI for other apps that were not programmed for interaction with the Nina components.
With Windows Phone 8, the extensible speech user interface will be a fully integrated part of the operating system and it will be open for all 3rd party developers to integrate with. Thus there are some differences, but Windows Phone 8’s method seems more like the speech UI that will be more future proof when it comes to speech enabled applications within an ecosystem.