While companies are busy trying to patent face unlock technology, it seems that it may soon be left behind. What’s the cool new way to unlock your phone? Voice unlock, of course, and the Lenovo A586 is bringing it to China later this month.

It’s easy to imagine how little security this method of unlocking a phone could offer, and that’s why Lenovo is using a speaker verification technology that was “pioneered by A*STAR’s Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) and enhanced by the Baidu-I2R Research Centre (BIRC).”

The downside is that the phone itself isn’t too impressive: a 4.5-inch screen with a resolution of 480 x 854 and a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor aren’t exactly the newest, hottest technology.

Assuming the “voiceprint” system works well, the specific phrase you use may not matter too much, but why let that stop us from imagining? What sort of passphrase would you use for your phone?



Baidu-I2R Research Centre (BIRC) Brings First Speaker Verification Technology Into Smartphones With Built-In Voiceprint Feature

BIRC’s state-of-the-art technology unlocks Lenovo-Baidu smartphones with user’s voice

1. Singapore, 30 November 2012 – Using your voice as a unique identification to unlock your smartphone is no longer a fantasy or just another scene from a futuristic movie. The technology will be embedded in Lenovo’s smartphone – Lenovo A586, which will be available from 30th November 2012 in China through major telecommunications providers and online shops. This innovative Speaker Verification technology was pioneered by A*STAR’s Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) and enhanced by the Baidu-I2R Research Centre (BIRC).

2. The adoption of the Speaker Verification technology in the Lenovo A586 smartphone demonstrates A*STAR’s success in translating results from research collaborations with corporations in Singapore to industry applications. It also marks a major milestone for BIRC, a joint laboratory between A*STAR’s I2R and Baidu, Inc. (Nasdaq: BIDU), the leading Chinese language Internet search provider. BIRC, Baidu’s first overseas joint R&D facility, officially opened in Singapore in July this year.

3. The Lenovo A586 smartphone is the first in the industry that incorporates this Speaker Verification technology into its operating system. With this distinctive feature, an authorized user can unlock the smartphone simply by speaking a passphrase, without the need to use PINs, passwords or finger swipe patterns.

4. Dr. Li Haizhou, Co-Director of BIRC said, “We are delighted that our months of hard work and efforts are bearing fruits with the launch of the Lenovo A586 that incorporates our Speaker Verification technology. This is a strong endorsement of user-inspired research and cutting-edge speech and language technology in I2R and BIRC. We look forward to more innovative products from the Baidu and I2R partnership.”

5. “Lenovo A586’s adoption of the Speaker Verification technology that is developed through our joint effort with Baidu demonstrates I2R’s commitment to translate their expertise in speech and language technologies into products that benefits consumers and the industry. It is indeed encouraging that an A*STAR-developed technology is being deployed in China, the largest and world’s fastest growing smartphone market,” said Dr. Tan Geok Leng, Executive Director of I²R.

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