New Android Eyes-Free Assistant, Robin, Goes Nationwide, Challenges Siri in the Car

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Android users are fortunate: they don't need to buy a new iPhone and wait for months just to get the new in-car Siri announced by Apple. Instead, they can now have their own eyes-free assistant - Robin.

Robin in San Francisco

Driver consults Robin for real-time parking assistance in downtown San Francisco.

Completely eyes-free interaction: voice in, voice out.

Robin is designed with drivers in mind, aiming to provide them with relevant information, guidance and content via a natural voice / gesture interface. In the car, this interface becomes key, enabling a completely eyes-free interaction: voice in, voice out. Importantly, Robin's powerful dialogue engine allows a natural and smooth conversation flow, always keeping track of the implied context. Starting a dialogue is as easy as "waving hello" in front of the phone's screen, so one never has to look away from the road (video).

At the moment, Robin is available in beta across the US, offering features such as local search (including Yelp reviews), navigation, real-time traffic and parking information, gas prices, weather and more. And for those getting bored behind the wheel, Robin can narrate personal Twitter news (with more content reportedly coming soon) and even tell jokes.

According to Magnifis, the company behind Robin, these are just the first steps. Drawing inspiration from the famous KITT of the "Knight Rider" fame, Robin is poised to emerge as a very personal kind of assistant that becomes increasingly helpful as she gets to know her "master" better. For instance, Robin will be able to proactively alert drivers about traffic or speed cameras, based on her knowledge of one's schedule and driving patterns. And the two-way communication will make it easy for the drivers to share information, e.g., about traffic (Waze style). She will also serve as "personalized radio", narrating relevant news aggregated from a variety of sources and even learn the individual's taste in jokes.

"Today, people still think of a car assistant primarily in terms of navigation," says Magnifis co-founder/CEO Ilya Eckstein. "But in fact, we don't use navigation much, as most of the time we know our way around. What we really need in the car is someone to watch out for us as we go and be there when we need... well, just about anything. That, and being able to remain fully connected and empowered behind the wheel. To not miss out on a single important bit of life, even when you are not staring at the screen. And that is exactly what Robin is meant to help us with."

About Magnifis
Based in Palo Alto, Calif., Magnifis is a leading innovator in speech interfaces, machine learning and location-based services. The company is using proprietary multi-language understanding technology - already powering a major service in Israel - and is backed by private investors. For more information, please visit:

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