Oppo launches Breeno assistant: Do we really need another one?

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Oppo

  • Oppo has announced the Breeno virtual assistant in China.
  • The assistant will support multiple forms of interaction, as well as “system-wide capabilities.”
  • It’s the latest entrant in an increasingly crowded assistant space.

Virtual assistants have quickly become a popular way to add smarter functionality to devices, but it’s hard to argue that we need more rivals in the space. Nevertheless, Oppo has decided to join the fray with its new Breeno assistant.

The company announced the assistant at its 2018 developers conference in Beijing this week, claiming it was “an intelligent assistant for the 5G era.” It’s unclear how Oppo will harness 5G in its virtual assistant, but the Chinese brand seems to be using all the expected buzzwords in describing Breeno’s goals.

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“The cognitive technologies represented by natural language understanding, knowledge graph, context computing, and personalized recommendation enable Breeno to more comprehensively understand the world,” Oppo noted in a press release. The firm adds that the service will integrate “sensing technology with natural multimodal interaction” in order to understand a user’s demands. Furthermore, Oppo notes that the assistant will have “system-wide capabilities,” possibly suggesting deep integration with the host smartphone.

Breeno will also be available to developers and partners, opening the door for compatible devices and new skills, said Andy Wu, Oppo’s global vice president.

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Breeno is only available in China right now, but Oppo’s home market isn’t short of rival assistants either. Prominent assistants include Alibaba’s AliGenie, Baidu’s DuerOS, and Xiaomi’s Xiaoai. The company will also need to contend with Amazon, Google and Microsoft’s assistants if it brings the service to more countries.

It’s unclear if Oppo’s assistant will remain exclusive to its smartphones. But history suggests that brand-exclusive voice assistants have a much tougher time gaining a foothold than widely available assistants. Take a look at Samsung‘s Bixby for example, which is only available on the firm’s devices. The platform endured a rocky launch, and it seems like the assistant hasn’t gained nearly the same level of success as the likes of the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

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