Tech

Siri, Alexa, Bixby, Cortana vs New Bluetooth Headset From Hong Kong

By Justin Lee , Mar 25, 2017 06:16 AM EDT
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Hong Kong-based brand called Vicartek has introduced a new Bluetooth headset. The "Envoy" headset is natively compatible with popular AI assistants in the market including Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana and Google's Google Assistant. One of the proudest features of the new headset is being able to pull up an assistant with just a tap or two without having to pull up a smartphone.

According to Forbes, Envoy is the first Bluetooth headset that can work with Alexa and Google Assistant that do not require users to unlock their smartphones first. According to Vicartek's founder Mark Peng, users can tap on the Envoy once to activate Amazon's Alexa. Tapping twice, on the other hand, will call out Google Assistant or Siri. The headset also stays on-call for a few minutes so the users don't have to re-activate it every so often. Throughout the process, users' smartphone can stay inside their bags or on a table without needing any action.

Peng shared that the initial plan was for Envoy to be exclusively compatible with Alexa. However, the founder said that he soon realized the essence of each assistant on the market. Peng said that each digital assistant excels at different tasks and every user uses their AI assistants in different manners. He said that Siri is the perfect assistant for the iPhone while Alexa has a wider range of skill set.

Peng also shared that their whole team spent months in customizing the headset's software algorithm to make sure that it can connect to different assistants at all times. Vicartek then used a dual microphone system to improve the accuracy of voice recognition and to get rid of background noise. Additional info also revealed that the API of Envoy is open to developers. This means that the headset can also work with startup AI assistants that are coming in the future. As for the availability details of the headset, Envoy is now up for pre-orders but won't be released until May. The price is at around $40.

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