Samsung's (News - Alert) latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S3, is not yet available on store shelves in North America. but its major software components have already started to leak onto the Internet.
It was Samsung's latest Touchwiz launcher – compatible only on Android (News - Alert) systems running Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) – and now the device's most anticipated new feature, “S-Voice”, is available for download, thanks in part to members of the XDA developers community.
S-Voice is Samsung's new voice assistant compiled on the popular Vlingo software technology – the direct rival of Apple (News - Alert) iPhone's Siri. And while it is not quite ready for prime time, Nexus and other Android ICS device owners can give it a test drive.
To begin, the voice recognition is average at best and definitely in need of ironing out. Voice dialing and text messaging works nicely, commands such as “call Mom” and “text 'I will be late for dinner' to Dad” brought up the Dialer and text messaging apps, respectively.
Once you say your text, you’re prompted with a cancel or send dialog window, which you can answer either verbally or with a tap.
The app features an inherent tutorial to instruct users on how to speak various commands. To use GPS navigation, for example, one would simply say “Navigate to,” followed by the destination. Since the voice recognition needs improving, you may find yourself saying the same thing over and over. This is likely due to hardware limitations and the fact that S-Voice is not meant for non-Galaxy S3 devices.
Once Samsung got word of the leak, it began banning unauthorized users, prompting them with a “network error” message. In a statement, Samsung said they do not want consumers to judge the quality of the voice feature based on a test version.
Needless to say, that hasn’t stopped open-source developers. Users over at the XDA forums have already found a workaround and posted the instructions online.
Edited by Braden Becker