Canadian handset maker BlackBerry has officially introduced its virtual assistant for the BlackBerry 10.3 OS, and it’s called simply ‘BlackBerry Assistant’.

Much like assistants on rival platforms, BlackBerry Assistant can do things like help you carry out simple tasks on the device (launching apps, sending messages, making calls etc.) using voice commands, as well as slightly more advanced things like searching email or calendars, or finding out what’s trending on Twitter, the company explained in a blog post today.

Blackberry assistant BlackBerry Assistant officially introduced as part of BlackBerry 10.3, Siri et al likely not worried

It also has features designed for driving too, like being able to ask BlackBerry Assistant to read back the most recent email but then additionally asking it to keep it marked as ‘unread’ so you can follow-up later.

blackberry assistant 730x356 BlackBerry Assistant officially introduced as part of BlackBerry 10.3, Siri et al likely not worried

With Siri arriving for the iPhone first back in 2011 and Google Now capably powering some smart-ish suggestions on Android devices, BlackBerry isn’t exactly ahead of the trend here. Even Windows Phone has Cortana for users in the US. Better late than never would seem to apply here, and to be fair it does seem to be at reasonably smart.

There’s no word on which devices will support the feature, but we do at least know it should be a part of the BlackBerry 10.3 OS later in the year. It might need a new name though – BlackBerry Assistant just isn’t very catchy.

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