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Siri slow to impress in Japan

As the world focused on Apple's unveiling of its new iPad last week, an added feature in the iOS 5.1 update brought Siri to Japanese iPhone 4S users.


That feature add, unfortunately, hasn't yet been received with the highest regard. Apple's voice recognition assistant has caught on fairly well here in the U.S. (though a lawsuit claiming Siri isn't what Apple says it is was just filed), but in Japan one video shows Siri struggling on some more-advanced Japanese requests.

The side-by-side comparison below features an iPhone 4S with Siri and what appears to be an Android phone running Japanese wireless carrier DoCoMo's voice recognition feature, Syabette Concier. Reported by Kotaku (via AppleInsider), the video shows Siri's response time being slower than Syabette Concier as well as failing on some more-difficult queries.

The directions spoken to each device in the video, according to Kotaku, are:

  • "Is it cold outside?" Both devices report the current weather conditions.
  • "I have a stomach ache." Siri could not discern the request, whereas Syabette accurately provided information about a nearby hospital.
  • "Tell me my schedule for tomorrow." Siri provided any schedule it could find, whereas Syabette provided the exact schedule for the following day.
  • "Give me a map for Chigaski." Right now, Siri only provides location information for U.S. users. The local Syabette comes equipped with mapping information for Japan.
  • "Look for videos of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu." Kyary is a flashy teen singer in Japan. It appears Siri has yet to immerse itself entirely in Japanese subcultures.
  • "Raw wheat, raw rice, and fresh eggs." A common tongue twister in Japanese (Nama mugi nama gome nama tamago) was unable to be comprehended by Siri.
  • "I want to cook some curry." Syabette correctly searched for online curry recipes; Siri had trouble figuring out what the request was for.
  • "Wake me up tomorrow." Siri asks, as expected, what time the man would like to be woken up. Syabette sets the alarm for 10 a.m.

Siri is still a work-in-progess in all languages, but particularly in non-English regions. With a voice recognition technology like Siri's, the main way for it to get better is to practice. With the number of iPhone 4S users continually growing, Siri will gain valuable information it needs to understand requests better and produce more-accurate results.

Apple seems set to stand behind its technology, continually touting its game-changing intelligence in ads online, in print, and on television. Despite any negative reviews, it appears Siri is here to stay. Are you a fan of Siri? Let me know your opinion in the comments!