Here at AppShopper, we like to point out apps that we think you’ll find useful or exceptionally entertaining at the very least. A few times, we’ve come across apps that include unique or ground-breaking features that could open up many new possibilities for the iOS platform, like Junaio’s image recognition or AisleBuyer’s in-store self-checkout app, Magic Beans. We’ve found another app that fits into this category in our view, despite its deceptively simple premise.
Kei 2010 is a voice-controlled alarm clock app that will tell you the time or date when you ask it, and allows you to set the alarm by voice as well. (You can also set the alarm manually in the app’s settings.) The app constantly listens for the trigger phrase “Hello Kei” to accept your voice commands. Once you speak this command, the app will ask you what you need. The limited list of voice commands include the current time, today’s date, and a few others to control the alarm setting.
The developer, Studio Heat, has created a video to demonstrate how the app works:
The app has almost always heard us accurately and returned the proper response without any training needed. It works with English or Japanese voice commands. To our dismay, the app doesn’t have any in-app screen brightness controls or any way to switch off the constant animation, which could make it a little annoying in a dark room when you’re trying to sleep. For the visually impaired, a voice-activated clock app like Kei 2010 could be invaluable.
On the surface, the app is nothing fancy. It reliably tells you the time and offers an alarm feature with a handful of alarm sounds to alert you whenever your little heart desires. It has a cute interface. And though we are surrounded by clocks and don’t really need another clock app, we keep coming back to it every now and then because Kei 2010 is one of those apps that makes us fantasize about what the future could hold for iOS.
Of course, we know that the iPhone already incorporates voice control technology to execute commands to make calls and control music playback, and that there are apps like Dragon Dictation and Vlingo that will transcribe your speech into text for you. And when it comes to cell phones with voice recognition technology, we recall an old Symbian S60 Nokia phone we had more than five years ago that could be set to listen constantly for a specified word to trigger its voice command function (and we’re sure that there are many other examples of much older phones capable of taking voice commands).
What if you could ask your iPhone about your next appointment in the Calendar app when it’s on the table across the room from you? What if you could ask your iPhone to open the Notes app and transcribe a list you want to save? What if you could ask your iPhone to read you the text message that just arrived and dictate a response for it to transcribe and send? Kei 2010 make us think of these kinds of possibilities.
Apple acquired Siri, the creators of the voice-controlled Siri Assistant app that acts as a virtual personal assistant, earlier this year. Steve Jobs reportedly insisted that the purpose of that acquisition was to obtain the artificial intelligence technology the company owned. From this, Apple appears to be working on technology that would bring more intelligent interactivity between users and its devices and we are definitely looking forward to the day when our iPhones can talk back to us about more than just the time.