Apple's Siri has Rival in Sensory

Among the features of the which should start reaching consumers' hands this week, is a baked-in personal assistant app called . The software uses speech recognition, artificial intelligence, and tight integration to the phone's built-in apps to create a "personal assistant" to perform a multitude of tasks for you. As powerful as Siri is, however, a speech recognition product made by a company called Sensory, Inc. may outshine Apple's offering in the long run.

While the name of Sensory's product -- Trulyhandsfree Voice Control 2.0 -- doesn't slip off the tongue as smoothly as Siri, it does something that all speech recognition programs have had a devil of a time doing: recognizing speech in hostile ambient noise environments.

"It's amazing," Michael Morgan, a mobile devices analyst with ABI Research in New York City, tells PC World. "They've used some kind of black magic so you can have your phone in your pocket in a noisy environment and issue voice commands."

Better yet, the software is "always on." You don't have to punch any buttons to activate it, as you do with Siri.

Ordinarily, an "always on" speech recognition application is asking for trouble. That's because the software can't determine when you're speaking to it or talking to someone else. Sensory's speaker-independent software appears to address that problem with highly accurate recognition and the capability to recognize commands, even when they're embedded in sentences, surrounded by ambient sound, and spoken as far as 20 feet from a phone.

"You can leave it on and talk for two hours, and it will not misfire, and it will pick up the second you say a command," Morgan says. "It does an excellent job."