Nokia might be working on a personal assistant to compete with Siri, Google Now, and Cortana, if it follows through with a new trademark application.
The Finnish networking giant said Viki will combine ‘all data sources into a single chat and voice interface’, but did not reveal anything else about the personal assistant.
Some believe Viki will arrive on the rumored Nokia 8, the company’s next Android flagship.
Nokia would be entering a crowded market with Viki, and if it launches on Android it will have to compete against Google Now and Assistant. Both of the Google apps are preinstalled on all new Android devices.
All personal assistants are new to their jobs
Personal assistants are still in the early stages of development, most mobile users do not actively engage with Siri or Google Now on a regular basis. For Viki to make its mark, it would need to be an invaluable service to the consumer, something that changes their mobile behavior and makes them want to chat to a bot.
Nokia might be the company to do that, although it doesn’t have the same breadth of artificial intelligence knowledge that Google and Microsoft have acquired.
The company, which sold its mobile division to Microsoft for $8.4 billion, might also receive warnings from Redmond to not compete with Cortana. Microsoft is reportedly already annoyed at Nokia making mobile moves, and launching a personal assistant may be a step too far.
There also has been some discussion about the “sexism” of all these new AI assistants. While default female voices can be changed to male, the obvious “girl name” naming conventions have been attracting attention, with Nokia’s Viki and especially Amazon’s Alexa.