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Move up, Siri and Cortana: BlackBerry's new... 'Assistant' is here

Did BB use up its creativity building the software?

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BlackBerry has unveiled a voice-powered assistant due to appear on its BB10 devices later this year. Imaginatively named er, "BlackBerry Assistant", the speech software hooks into web searches, social media and basic phone functions, like Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana, and Google Now.

We tried Assistant on a very early leak of the BB10 10.3 software some weeks ago, but it was too raw to make a judgment call. We did note it makes BB10's already-excellent device search function harder to use - so hopefully it complements, rather than replaces, this useful feature. The company has trailed it on its company blog, here.

The voice-powered Assistant will make its debut on BlackBerry's Passport, a 1440 x 1440x QWERTY device that belongs in the hitherto-obscure SPT category, or "Square Phlabet-ty Thing".

Right now, BlackBerry has the SPT business all to itself. In fact, you could say it owns the category. ®

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