Apple in Shanghai court over Siri speech recognition patent infringement claims

Siri promo video (text message reply 001)AFP reported Apple is in court in Shanghai, China again today, but this time it’s over a lawsuit alleging the company copied components of Siri’s speech recognition software. According to the report, Shanghai-based Zhizhen Network Technology Co. claimed in pretrial proceedings that Apple infringed its patent related to voice recognition technology via Siri. While the suit notes that development of Siri began in 2007, there is no mention of Nuance. Apple currently partners Nuance with to implement the speech recognition component in Siri, and it is also a market leader that presumably has its own arsenal of speech recognition related patents.

Zhizhen says it patented its “Xiao i Robot” software in 2004, while Apple’s Siri, which made its debut with the release of the iPhone 4S in 2011, was first developed in 2007.

“The company will ask Apple to stop manufacturing and selling products using its patent rights, once Apple’s infringement is confirmed,” Si Weijiang, a lawyer representing Zhizhen, told AFP.

“We don’t exclude the possibility of demanding compensation in the future,” he added.

The company is behind Siri-like software called ‘Xiao i Robot’ that it claimed was first developed before Siri in 2004. The technology is apparently available on some smart TVs and enterprise applications, but it doesn’t appear to be available as a consumer-facing app for smartphones or tablets. The video below appeared online when the company originally filed suit against Apple last year, and it shows the Xiao i Robot software running on a Lenovo smartphone:

Dolphin Browser iPhone app updated with ‘Sonar’ voice control functionality

Popular third-party Android browser Dolphin made its way to the App Store in August of last year bringing highly customizable gestures, built-in translations, and a dock-style sidebar for quick access to tabs, bookmarks, and speed dial. Today, developers MoboTap Inc. pushed out an update to the iPhone app that, among other new features, introduced voice search functionality called “Dolphin Sonar.”

Dolphin Sonar is super easy to use and can do almost anything. Instead of typing, tap the microphone at the bottom left or just shake your phone (because who doesn’t want an excuse to do that!). Then say what you want to say and Dolphin will do the rest… use your voice to search the Web, find exactly what you’re looking for on sites like Facebook or eBay, bookmark your favorite website, and (like a real Dolphin!) use Sonar to navigate. Ask Dolphin to search on Facebook or create a new tab…all without having to type a single letter.

Other additions to the update include the return of the URL keyboard “by popular demand,” new search engine options to switch between four default settings, three font size options for browsing, and the ability to dim the screen with a single tap using “Night Mode.” Like the default Safari browser, Dolphin will also now save images directly to your iPhone’s photo album. You will also get the usual stability and performance enhancements when you grab version 4.0 of the Dolphin browser on the App Store (iTunes link).
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