The latest craze on mobile has been virtual assistants. These started off as fictional beings we saw on superhero movies (Iron Man’s J.A.R.V.I.S) or in computer games (Halo’s Cortana). Iphone’s Siri is assistant who came and quickly gained popularity for her witty comments and ability to compliment. Gratefully, since then we have also met Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s Assistant who are all great. As far as virtual assistants go it seems Huawei is ensuring that Alexa gains one up over Google Assistant with Huawei Mate 9 integration.

When the world was first introduced to virtual assistants it was all fun and games; we could ask silly questions and get the weather. With greater focus on improving artificial intelligence and improving efficiency from the Internet of Things (IoT) our assistants gradually became smarter. The average assistant now does a lot more than this. Most of the assistants can make calls,

Google Assistant

set alarms, play music, tweet, send WhatsApp messages and even keep you company when you’ve been stood up by your date. Alexa surprising not being among the first assistants to come around seems to have made the most progress. That’s because in the Virtual assistant space they have the highest integration with home devices.

Amazon Alexa

Amazon’s Alexa is proving to be one of the best Virtual Assistants on the market

 

Alexa is an intelligent personal assistant developed by Amazon.com’s Lab126 and made popular by the Echo. Initially, Alexa came integrated with amazon and the internet. This meant you could play music and most importantly order from Amazon with voice commands. With Amazon’s introduction of products in the IPTV sphere like the Amazon fire it meant Alexa could do more. This move is perfect for all who own products in Amazon’s Echo line, the ability to connect easily with your phone. In my personal opinion Alexa could be the smartest and most effective assistant in the market.

Mate 9 Integration is Not As Good As It Sounds

Not Fully Integrated.

Sadly, the integration will not be as seamless as I had hoped. I say this because normally, I can easily use the “OK Google” voice function to gain access to the Google assistant. That won’t be the case with the Mate 9’s integrated Alexa that uses a Huawei – Branded Alexa app. This app was made since Alexa is not fully built in.  Phone users will have to go into the app to use Alexa and this unfortunately sounds like more work than you are used to using the Echo which is always listening for voice commands.

Alexa on Amazon Echo

Alexa has seamless integration with the Echo series

 

There will be No Alarms and No GPS.

We have sad news: the Alexa that comes integrated in the Mate 9 cannot set your alarms. For me that is a bit of a big deal. I mean maaaaan!  Huawei also announced that the Alexa app will not be able to use your phone’s GPS, instead using preset location. This means for features like weather update it will use the location preset into the app. If you’re someone who travels a bit this may have you leaning towards the Google assistant.

Verdict

As a business decision this is Brilliant! Mostly because Huawei is offering an option to use either the Google Assistant or Alexa. At the same time, the Amazon team through AWS (Amazon Web Service) has been constantly improving Alexa. Functionality and will continue integrating with third party apps. Either way, if Alexa becomes too much work we’ll use the easier option. After all, What is an assistant if they don’t make your life easier.