Apple bought Novauris to boost speech recognition

TechCrunch broke the news the other day about Novauris getting acquired by Apple. As with many of Apple’s smaller acquisitions, this transaction was kept low profile, and it actually happened last year. Nothing on the companies’ websites indicates such an announcement. Apple definitely regards any improvement to speech recognition as a critical component in delivering the best mobile experience, namely with Siri on iOS.

The competition has always been heated between the two most popular mobile operating systems, Android and iOS. Google Now and Siri are billed as intelligent assistants on these respective mobile platforms.

There’s actually a third player getting into the ring now. Microsoft recently unveiled Cortana to compete with Google Now and Siri, and it will be a major part of the Windows Phone 8.1 upgrade. And based on several blogger reviews of Cortana (beta), she looks to be a serious contender.

But the Novauris acquisition also signals a trend in terms of how these digital assistants are architected. For now all three appear to rely on the capabilities of the cloud, but that’s about to change as I’d blogged previously. Intel is betting that a digital assistant-on-a-chip will perform better and offer a richer UX, and that appears in line with what Novauris is working on as well.


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