BlackBerry Assistant officially unveiled for OS 10.3

BlackBerry Assistant
By Simon Sage on 16 Jul 2014 09:31 am EDT

BlackBerry tooks the wraps off BlackBerry Assistant today, which aims to provide voice actions for just about everything you could want to do with your phone. We've caught glimpses of Assistant through leaked BlackBerry 10.3 builds, and we suspect the whole affair is powered by Waterloo local Maluuba.

So what does BlackBerry Assistant do? Search e-mails, send calendar invites, see what's trending on Twitter, change notification profiles, and lots more. Queries can be typed in too, for those times you can't talk but still need something done quickly.

BlackBerry's Donny Halliwell was quick to emphasize the accuracy of BlackBerry Assistant, its compatibility with any Bluetooth device, and being able to complete tasks (like toggle the LED flashlight) without leaving the app.

How many of you guys are running a leaked version of 10.3? Have you been playing around with Assistant yet? What features would you like to see?

Source: Inside BlackBerry

Reader comments

BlackBerry Assistant officially unveiled for OS 10.3


Supported commands







KNOWLEDGE_QUERY wolfram_alpha











I've better spaced it :)

And here are examples:

"How's the weather?" "What's the forecast for this weekend?" "How's the weather in Sao Paulo going to be on Saturday?" "When is sunrise tomorrow?" "Do I need a sweater today?" "What's the wind chill factor in Chicago right now?" "Read my last email from Annie" "Do I have any new emails about the quarterly budget?" "Forward this email" "Email Joseph, Karla, and Greg and let them know I'm running late." "Send Megan a short email and blind carbon copy Joseph. Subject: Dinner tonight." "What emails did I get today?" "Send a BBM message" "Read my last BBM from Tanya" "Do I have any new BBM messages about tonight's plans?" "Reply to that BBM message" "BBM Jake and let him know I'm running late" "Shoot Meredith a BBM, I'm on my way." "Send a text" "Read my last text from Melissa." "Do I have any new text messages about shopping?" "Reply to that SMS message" "Text Joseph, Karla, and Greg and let them know I'm running late." "Shoot Trudy an SMS message, where are we meeting tonight?" "Play Violet Hill by Coldplay" "Play some Adele" "Play U2's greatest hits album?" "Next track" "Who sings this?" "Shuffle my Jay-Z tracks" "Dial 519-555-0199" "Call Justin from BlackBerry" "Call Neman at home" "Redial" "Do I have any missed calls?" "Phone my voicemail" "How many people live in Canada?" en-US,en-GB "What's the square root of 36?" "What time is it in London England?" "Who is Albert Einstein?" "Tell me about Australia" "How many millimeters are in an inch?" "Set up a meeting for March 1st at 2:30 PM with Jake and Tanya" "What does my day look like today?" "Schedule a team lunch for next Monday" "Set up an interview with Greg Hislop in the north conference room" "Add Mark to next Friday's marketing meeting" "Move my doctor's appointment to 2:00 PM" "Remind me to take out the trash in an hour" "Remind me to call Karla tomorrow at 4 PM" "What reminders do I have today?" "Note to self pick up milk" "Create a new task to go for an oil change this weekend" "New task to buy mom's birthday gift by January 19th" "Set an alarm for weekdays at 6:45 AM" "Wake me up in 90 minutes" "Set a weekend alarm for 9" "Set the alarm for Tuesday and Wednesday at 4:00 PM" "Turn off my 9 AM alarm" "Move my alarm from 5:00 PM to 5:15 PM" "Show me a map of Ottawa" "Where is the nearest coffee shop?" "Give me directions to the airport" "Where am I?" "How do I get to the Museum Of Modern Art?" "Take me home" "Search for Blu-Ray DVDs on Amazon" "Bing search things to do in Paris" "Watch a cat video on YouTube" "Find the budget report in my documents" "Search for global warming on Wikipedia" "Find the best eggs benedict recipe on Epicurious" "Check Facebook" "Update Facebook status to Having a great day!" "Read my last Facebook message from Tanya" "Do I have any new Facebook messages about Jake's party this weekend?" "Reply to that Facebook message" "Send a Facebook message to Joseph, Meredith, and Greg and let them know I'm running late" "What's trending on Twitter?" "Tweet Just saw the coolest cat!" "Read my last Twitter direct message from Karla" "Do I have any new Twitter messages about Greg's party this weekend?" "Reply to that Twitter direct message" "Send a Twitter direct message to Annie and let her know I'm running late" "Check in" "Check in on Foursquare" "Check LinkedIn" "Update my LinkedIn status to Exciting things happening at the office!" "Read my last LinkedIn message from Karla" "Do I have any new LinkedIn messages about my upcoming interview?" "Reply to that LinkedIn message" "Send a LinkedIn direct message to Jake, Tanya, and Joseph and let them know I'm running late" "Turn on Bluetooth" "Open Docs To Go" "Play Angry Birds" "Turn on Flashlight" "Launch BlackBerry Hub" "Open" "All alerts off please" "Find the closest gas station" "Where is Best Buy?" "I feel like having a burger" "Where can I find a good cup of coffee?" "Find italian restaurants nearby" "Show me hotels nearby"

Wow! You did your homework! Thanks for the detailed information. I didn't read all of them but I can't wait for this feature. The one on 10.2 is a headache.

Sent using the horsepower of a Q10. BBMChannel: C00123A95

Really surprised that the interest level of Crackberry readers is so low for such a massive development! Just 178 comments..

Am I missing something in this whole assistant thing?

It genuinely looks HUGE to me.

Waiting for the BlackBerry Passport!!

When Tims finally figure out how to be consistent, I'll stop making my own. I'm sick of paying for a random taste.

I agree with this comment but it seems to be better when you have consistent staff at each location.

Posted via CB10

Tim's is the most consistent coffee brewing company anywhere. Not only is this their pledge it's pretty much agreed too by 90% of the County. I'm not saying it's 100% every time but I can guarantee you I hit a lot of different tims and they are all the same 90% of the time

You got me laughing with that one! Good sense of humour... you were joking, right?

Posted via CB10

Because then those who want to see "Watch a cat video on YouTube" first would be cheesed off.

It's a BlackBerry it will tell you Tim Hortons and then laugh and laugh and laugh that you...

Posted via CB10

I can't believe I read all of those... I will be excited if I no longer have to listen to my phone ask if I want to google "set an appointment for tuesday?"

About damn time current BlackBerry Voice Control is woefully inadequate.

Founding Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile

It would be awesome if there were occasional easter eggs with assistant. For example saying "Crackberry Rules" into assistant would get you a discount on something in the store...or something more creative.

He was trying to be cute with a "first" post but failed big time

Posted with a Verizon Z30 running and CB10. [URL="bbmc:C0004F9BB"] My channel with zero subscribers but has Frenchie pics :) [/URL]

Not unless he works for the BlackBerry Team and had a hand in creating it. I'm sure it's been used hundreds of times now

Posted via CB10 on my Zed30

I'd love to be able to play music via voice, with ability to narrow down to song, artist or genre. For example "play Aerosmith" or "play sabotage"

Posted via CB10

From the app
Play music and search for your music.

You can search your music library, play your favorite songs or playlists, and pause, shuffle, or skip songs while they play. To play your entire music library on shuffle, just tap the Music icon.

They give examples, as seen in a previous comment:
"Play Violet Hill by Coldplay"
"Play some Adele"
"Play U2's greatest hits album?"
"Next track"
"Who sings this?"
"Shuffle my Jay-Z tracks"

No, I meant BlackBerry, in the app itself, but Maluuba may as well give some examples in their doc, I haven't checked.

Would be nice if we will be able to say "with Neutron Player" at the end. Instead of it using the stock player. Will have to wait and see.

Posted via CB10

I was thinking the same thing. Perhaps they will develop am SDK for the assistant so 3rd party developers can set up commands for their respective apps.

Posted via CB10

Wonder if it will be able to auto recognize multiple languages within a command, similarly to how the BB10 keyboard does.

Posted via CB10

I dunno, unless this thing is really really good I don't see it, much like all the hype around siri, which now is more a gimmick than anything else.
I mean if it's truly really good, and I mean really good as in almost human like, I don't see it.
But than again it's probably just me

Posted via CB10

I understand where you're coming from. However, I drive a lot and many times I could use being able to use voice command to do many of the items listed above. The current assistant is not great and the one built into my car, well, let's not go there. If this is as slick as it sounds, you should be able to get it to do the critical tasks and not take your attention from the road. I don't use the built in app much because it's very distracting. I'd like something that is effective yet not distracting. A Smooth operating system would definitely do it.

Posted via CB10

I want it to be better than the current voice assistant. It almost never understands what I'm saying. It got to the point where I was self conscious about it, wondering if maybe I was just pronouncing things strangely. However I think it has to do with background noise. If it's not perfectly quiet around me, it won't work.

Using it while I drive is out of the question. I've tried. I'll ask it to read my last bbm, and will respond "Do you want to search the Internet for read my fast beaver?" I will respond with no, and it doesn't understand. I've given up.

So really, the new assistant can't be worse for me.

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

Lol. That would not work; you would have to respond, "search" or similar. Damn it! Don't ask me a yes or no question but refuse to accept a yes or no answer!

Can't wait for this new assistant. I saw the Maluuba video from earlier this year and they look to have nailed the casual speak we would want to be able to control this feature with.

Tapped and flicked from my BlackBerry Z30!

I don't think they ever took Siri out of beta. I think that was their excuse for her insufficiency but still...she was in beta for a long time (if she still isn't), which might mean they didn’t know what they were doing when they bought her from whatever company it was.

Posted via CB10

If the previews we have seen are any indication of how fluid the assistant will be, they might have found another way to "beat" the competition.

It all depends on how big a learning curve there is (for both the AI and user) and if they can keep adding more versatile commands.

BlackBerry 10 signed.

Looking forward to using the personal assistant myself, the one that comes now with BlackBerry 10 really isn't that great in all honesty.

But reading the blog that was posted by clewley on his channel, it definitely sounds like a whole can of awesome.

Posted via CB10

The recognizer used in 10.2.1 is useless.
If it can't understand what you're saying, it can't complete a task.

The new recognizers used in 10.3 must be much better.

Posted via CB10

Is there a setting that allows it to recite ALL incoming messages without touching the device and without a voice command? This is very useful on a long drive (or when being too lazy to sit up and look at the phone on the table). I forgot the app that did this on BBOS, but it was great the way it interrupted the music to read all incoming messages, and then continued with the music. Can't imagine why this feature isn't already part of any smartphone's virtual assistant - unless there are patent issues.

Edit: VLINGO, which is now owned by another company, was the app.

I use mine for reminders/tasks all the time. It saves so much time then opening and playing around with Remember and Calendar.
Running on Z10

Posted on the go with the CB10 app

I want to be able to say "Good night, Data," and as it enters bedside mode, have it respond with "Good night, Captain. Sleep well, sir."

Does it learn accents and pronunciation?

Does it verify sending messages by reading it back to you so you don't have to look at the screen?

Does it allow you to edit (or repeat) the message via voice if it interpreted it incorrectly?

If not, then it would be MORE of a distraction.

Posted via CB10

Take the things that folks like most about Siri and emphasize them, while quashing the things that People don't. Seems easy.

Posted via CB10

Not even going to lie, I am envious of my other friends' robust voice command capabilities on their phones, so this is one feature I am definitely looking forward to.

I'm actually pretty jealous of Cortana for Windows Phone. I hope BlackBerry can rival the competition with their assistance too.

As for names, I'm up for Jarvis!

Posted via CB10

I think Jarvis would be most fitting!!

 BlackBerry Z30  If it Don't Make Dollars, It don't Make Sense 

The good news here is that it looks like MSFT is going to put Cortana everywhere including iOS and Android. So with 10.3 we should be able to get the Android version of Cortana when it comes out. I'd like to see Cortana on blackberry but I doubt it.

Also Cortana will be on my PC and my tablet so that's good too.

That description sounds awesome!
This is what many of have wanted for a very long time.
The previous built-in voice recognition software and even the paid SayIT app never were perfect for me.
Are any of the leaks for 10.3 without the watermark yet?
Thanks Simon Sage for the posting!

I've always seen these things as more of a gimmick, but you can't argue that they have huge potential when someone does it right. Hopefully BlackBerry can be the company that does it right.

JARVIS anyone??

I'm pretty sure that's not what he said or suggested. However, I'm also pretty sure naming it JARVIS does little to fight the "gimmick " lable.

As usual blackberry apologists and excuse makers will claim this out performs siri and Google Now. Past claims, BB virtual keyboard is the best virtual keyboard, it's not. BB OS better than Android or iOS it's not. Android apps run better on BB10 they don't. Oh and I want to hear from those who claimed in the past nobody needs or uses siri or Google now. What happened to "tools not toys"? Blackberry should call this personal assistant SORRY.

In my opinion, the BlackBerry virtual keyboard is the best. In my opinion, BB10 is better than Android and iOS. Nobody ever says that BB10 with its current Android runtime runs Android apps "better" because they clearly don't. And I'm pretty sure that all this stuff, virtual assistant included, are tools not toys. Shut up.

Posted via CB10

And also, who's been claiming that the BlackBerry virtual assistant will out preform Google Now and Siri? (which are second and third to Microsoft's Cortana). Nobody has, because nobody's tried it. Give your head a shake.

Posted via CB10

Wait a second. I saw the Microsoft project manager in charge of Cortana giving a talk on YouTube, and he admitted that Cortana wasn't as good as Siri because of the amount of voice data advantage Siri has due to being around for much longer.

Second, we are all getting ahead of ourselves until the new BlackBerry assistant actually is verified to work successfully. BlackBerry has very little credibility on this point in my book, but I'm eager to try 10.3 upgraded personal assistant ASAP. In fact, I'd like a working build like the reviewers apparently have--leak it! Until then, these claims are unsupported.

I'd love to see a voice activation cue like "OK, BlackBerry" or whatever. "Goodnight" to activate the bedtime mode is also a good idea.

Z-30/STA 100-5/ USA

UGH, are you from California, neither of those is close to Cortana. In fact so not close that they are irrelevant.

I am looking forward to this. Hopefully the virtual assistant isn't a racist like siri so it can be more useful to our friends with accents.

Posted via CB10

I'm sure BB personal assistant will be fluent in Nigerian and Indonesian since those are the only markets BB has the slightest success. Congrats.

Even though it will not speak Hungarian, I hope there will be a way to tag contacts, artists, etc. So I wouldn't have to guess the "Englishish" pronunciation to get what I want.

Posted via CB10

Ignoring jd and moving right along....

I wonder how this will work if at all within the work space? I have a great deal of doubt that it will read or allow you to compose or respond to corporate emails. For someone that sends and receives a hundred or more emails 7 days a week - this would be really helpful or really frustrating. Given that my BES will not even deploy BBM at this point I'm guessing this too will be locked down on the Work side.

It would depend on your Admin I think. At my bank, my BlackBerry is locked down for voice to text for emails and other messages, but I think that is by our choice. Not mine personal, I wanted to be able send quick notes while driving without taking my eyes of the road.

Tapped and flicked from my BlackBerry Z30!

Did I read the description right? Is it voice activated in the sense that you don't have to press and hold the "mute" button or press the app button on the home screen? You can just speak commands and it responds?

Posted via CB10

This is exciting, it's was able time to hace a decent voice assistance

BBM channel: C0040FF4D..... Proudly Z10 owner...

If only these commands could be initiated by a voice command and not a physical button/touch of the phone like Android devices can do with say Dragon. If you're in your car and still have to click buttons it's not useful. For users with disabilities it's not useful. Can these commands not be initiated with voice? Game changer.

Posted via CB10

It would be cool if it were voice initiated, but I hope if it is that they give the option to turn that off for the people who don't like the idea of an always listening device.

Blackberry really fell behind on voice commands, and apps like SayIt just weren't up to snuff when compared to Android's Voice Command or Siri. Let's hope that this new upgrade at least puts BlackBerry on somewhat level footing with the competition.

Posted via CB10

The name 'BlackBerry Assistant' is so generic and boring though. I hope they come up with a cool branding for it before it launches.

They need to implement the ability to activate via voice like on the Moto X.

On all other Android phones you have to wake the phone, unlock the lock screen, then press a button to activate voice command, but on the moto you can just say the words "ok Google now" without having to touch, wake, or unlock the phone. And it only responds to your voice and no one else's.

BlackBerry needs to do this!

Posted via CB10 on the Z "Dirty" 30

With the newly updated Google Now app, they have brought this "no hands" voice activation to all phones. Have it on my HTC One and couldn't live without it! You can even set it to work from the lock screen while the screen is off.

i just want it to be handless

from anywhere in the room I want to say "blackberry what's the weather for today"

Berry would actually be better.

All I want is it to read incoming messages while I'm driving and allow me to reply without touching it

Posted via CB10 on Z30

A video demo would be great ! But it seems really cool. I cannot wait for the 10.3 update :D

Posted via CB10 on Z10

I hope they have a way to dismiss the assistant with your voice if you invoke it by accident. Huuuuuge gripe with the current implementation... can't get out. "cancel" "quit" "close" "f*** off!"

Posted via CB10

I'd like to see lithuanian added to languages. Why do I need to talk to the phone? Anyway it's not supporting my language :)
Current search is builded very fine.

Posted via CB10

in my garmin GPS voice commands are initiated using the command "voice command" or anything u say during the setup

OS - White Z10 on Bell - My FIRST full touch screen phone.

...and u end the voice command using the command "exit"...pretty cool, huh

OS - White Z10 on Bell - My FIRST full touch screen phone.

Does this "voice assistant" has a name?
Like Sori from eaten apple or Cortina from mikesosoft.

Posted via CB10

It would be cool if you could create your own name for it, pick it's gender etc. It would be more personalised then having to say something preset like "ok google" or "seri" which just sounds dumb saying.

Posted via CB10

I'm running the but I'm not sure if something went wrong with the install or I just got a bad leak with the Intelligent Assistant because it doesn't work worth a darn on my Z30. It has never recognized any commands I have said.

If it does not have random stupid easter eggs like siri and cortana the tech blogs will hate it :)

Posted via CB10

This is what I want to know too. Waiting is becoming synonymous with BlackBerry. Get this out NOW!

But welcome to 2014 BlackBerry, better late than never I guess. They should have just called it BB (Bibi) as BlackBerry Assistant doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.

It's coming with Passport, which I believe launches in September. And the rest of BlackBerry 10 phones will get 10.3.1 after, October, I believe.

Posted via CB10

I dislike engadget's biased and sometimes flat out false statements in their articles. Anyone seen the posting today?

"Apple has Siri, Microsoft has Cortana, Google's got Now voice search and BlackBerry... doesn't have a virtual assistant of any kind."

It sounds like current BlackBerries cannot "open apps, send messages and tweets, set reminders and change settings", which we can do all those things today with our voice.


Ooh, interesting! It didn't sound interesting up to this article. I thought it was the search function with more possibilities, but this is really something new.

Posted via CB10 on my Z10

Can't wait to curse at the assistant. ;)

Posted via CrackBerry 10 (CB10) application using my BlackBerry Q10.

I believe early version of 10.3 did not have it fully implemented therefore we need to wait. Until then just view the samples on maluuba website. I think their ad is fantastic. What a parody on Siri.

Posted via CB10

Will it support queries like :
- when did I call X last ?
- where am I ?
- what is the temperature now ?
- who called me last ?

Siri is jot as reliable as it is made out to be. Either is any other voice command software. The better systems would have you read text to the device to match your voice to with commands. I had to do this with my Avalanche of 2009 along with program in names and numbers using my voice. Although limited in its tasks, it was always correct to my voice. The software on your phone should do the same, else it may work quite fine for some and terrible for others.

Posted via CB10

It will always be compared with Google now or Siri. Be careful. Tough acts to follow.

Posted via CB10

Can someone simply tell me how well it stands up to Siri? And is it friendlier than the poor girl in 10.2.1 that sounds like she is about to commit suicide? :)

Posted via CB10

Talk to me when I don't have to pickup the device or touch it in anyway. Simply saying a special line of words such as "Wakeup (enter user recorded name for device)"

Yes that means the phone is constantly listening. Yes it will use battery. But all this is leading up to you eventually naming your device and calling it by name, because then and only then, will it be a true assistant!

Posted via CB10 from my Z30

I can't wait to get me a Passport, might have to wait till Xmas but will most definitely will be using this feature. We need a BB watch phone like Dick Tracy....

Some people really misinterpret voice assistance with AI The AI is much more broader than voice assistance .Voice assistant only support direct feedbacks while the AI feedbacks could or can be customised. It is to be noted that AI is introduced with 10.3 and not with versions below that.

Posted via CB10

We need to set a name for BlackBerry Intelligent Assistant like that of Siri or Cortana. It would be much more cooler and easier to call out.
Any suggestions guys?

Posted via CB10

BlackBerry's security makes this difficult. On a device with a password, "engage" will only work for 10 minutes since it was last used. After that, you need a password to respond. I wonder how they will solve this without compromising security.

If it can be opened by a keyword, then I'd prefer to create my own name for the assistant. If they offered different personalities, even at a premium, I'd be interested.

Posted via CB10

The issue of reaching keys '1' and '4' would still be there unless BBRY uses a one handed operation function like on Samsung Note.

Posted via CB10

I never got too excited about these digital assistants. Am I really missing anything?

Is there a way to turn of the voice commands in BB10?

The features on 10.3 are pretty amazing. Always been a BlackBerry lover but this is strengthening the love more. My hands are already itching to touch the BlackBerry passport. Good job BlackBerry!

This is a welcomed addition. It's nice to see that something has been developed to draw people that may use Siri. I haven't read through all the comments but has anyone actually done a side by side with Siri that can give us a comparison?

It's stuff like this that makes BlackBerry more appealing. This is definitely a step in the right direction. It's important to keep at this so that users realize that BlackBerry offers and will continue to offer what the competition does so we don't feel like we're missing anything.

This maybe a little off topic but for 10.3 will there be an auto action option for emails received? Like auto deleting emails from specific addresses or idwntified subjects. This will help clear inbox of useless emails coming in. :-)

Z10 user Z30 dreamer

Is it just me and my Z10, or are others finding that voice dictation also does not work? Been on the 10.3 leak since it dropped...

Posted via CB10

BlackBerry assistant is a lousy application. I am using it on my z30 with software. It is VERY SLOW TO RESPOND. Sheer wastage of time!!!

Posted via CB10

I am thrilled blackberry is working on personal assistant! this is certainly the future! Create bots we can choose for. I have 10.3 on my Z10 SL100-1 but i think i don't have it,will wait for 10.3.1 or buy a passport

Is it the same voice found in voice control or the maluuba voice or a new one? Could someone provide a video/sound clip?
does it require data to function or does it process requests on the device?

I'm using the assistant on My Z10 came with the leaked 10.3 and i must say it is very accurate, with me having the thick caribbean accent it is surprising, but one thing missing is the voice response, it responds in text rather than by voice.

If they are completely ready to rise and compete with Apple, Microsoft and Google when it come to Digital Assistant, I hope they would revamp it and make it more powerfull, efficient and more human in a woman touch and I suggest they would rename it like "Lucy" from the Bluckbuster Movie Lucy directed by Luc Besson played by Scarlett Johannson and I hope Scarlett would be the voice-over of it if this happens. This is the perfect name to their digital assistant because in this movie, lucy accidentally unlock and access her 100% of her brain capacity and she's 10% more genius than a normal genius and she can instantlly adopt and learns what news what she could learn!!! I hope it would be!!! click this link to know her:

If they are completely ready to rise and compete with Apple, Microsoft and Google when it come to Digital Assistant, I hope they would revamp it and make it more powerfull, efficient and more human in a woman touch and I suggest they would rename it like "Lucy" from the Bluckbuster Movie Lucy directed by Luc Besson played by Scarlett Johannson and I hope Scarlett would be the voice-over of it if this happens. This is the perfect name to their digital assistant because in this movie, lucy accidentally unlock and access her 100% of her brain capacity and she's 10% more genius than a normal genius and she can instantlly adopt and learns what news what she could learn!!! I hope it would be!!! click this link to know her: