Siri

ToyTalk Working on Wi-Fi Barbie Doll

Hello Barbie

Episode 1174

ToyTalk, a company that creates conversational characters for kids, is working on a Wi-Fi Barbie Doll that can analyze a child's speech and produce relevant responses. This will actually be able to talk to kids. This means that increasingly, children will be expecting their devices to talk back to them. This all started with Apple's Siri and Google Now, along with Microsoft's Cortana, which all respond to you.

ToyTalk says that 'Hello Barbie,' coming out this Fall, will have thousands of things to say and kids will be able to talk to her for hours.

How can I return a lost iPhone?

iPhone 6

Episode 1171

Pete from Brooklyn, NY

Pete found an iPhone on the road and it's locked. How can he track down the owner and get it back to them? Leo says that there really isn't much he can do other than file a 'found phone' report. He could interact with Siri and see if he can get information from her. In fact, he can use Siri to return it, according to 9to5Mac. But if Siri has been disabled, there really isn't a lot he can do. He could also contact Apple. Maybe they can help.

Why is the iPhone GPS sometimes wildly inaccurate?

GPS

Episode 1142

Kevin from Beaumont, CA

Kevin says that we talk about smartphones as being a "mature" technology by now, but when he uses GPS on his phone, it frequently can be wildly inaccurate. For instance, when he was in Scottsdale, he asked Siri for Thai restaurants, and it gave him results for Florida. Why would that be the case? Leo says that "mature" doesn't necessarily mean it's better, it's just an older technology at this point. Apple is doing everything it can with GPS, but its still an imperfect technology.

Is there a voice dictation app for entering contacts into a Windows phone?

Windows Phone Cortana

Episode 1124

Ed from Palmdale, CA

Ed has lost his eyesight and he needs to get a phone. Is there a utility that will record numbers into his phone by voice? Leo says that if Ed brings his old phone to the phone store, he can ask them to move his contacts into the new phone for him. Most phones have accessibility features, but Leo says that Apple does it best. But that's usually for calling.

For editing the contacts, that could be a challenge. Windows Phone's Cortana voice app is a brand new utility, so it may be able to edit entries with voice. It'll be a long process though.

Will the new iOS "Hey Siri" feature kill my battery?

iPhone 6 and iOS 8

Episode 1119

Daniel from Glendora, CA

Daniel wants to know how "Hey Siri" in iOS 8 can affect battery life. Leo says it always listens, so it's going to affect battery life, which is why it only works when the phone is plugged in. The good news is, he can turn it off. But it doesn't listen how he thinks it does -- it's comparing wave forms and if the wave form matches the wave form of "hey siri," then it wakes up. So it's not really eavesdropping on him, per se.

What's the best tablet for voice activation?

Episode 1084

Debbie from Los Angeles, CA

Debbie wants to know if there's a tablet that allows for voice commands. Leo says just about any tablet can do that. Can she text with a tablet? Leo says that both the iPad and the iPhone have the same capability to text via voice with Siri. All she would need to do is press down the home button until Siri starts. Google can do some of that, but it's tricky.

How is the accessibility with smartphones?

Accessibility

Episode 924

Laurie from Austin, Texas

Laurie has a client who has mobility issues and would like a voice activated smartphone. Leo says that both the iPhone and Android have voice activated dictation. The iPhone has Siri, which could be a great help to her client. So the iPhone may be the best solution. However, Google has also added voice activation to their Google App as well. So her client would get the best of both worlds with the iPhone.