zte star 2 first look aa (18 of 22)

One of the distinctive features of ZTE’s Star 2 smartphone is its voice control functionality, which lets the user accomplish a variety of tasks with simple spoken commands. ZTE revealed it will be bringing the feature to its other devices, as a “core focus” for the company moving forward.

In a memo sent out to staff yesterday, ZTE Mobile Devices CEO Adam Zeng said the Star 2’s voice functionality has been garnering positive reactions since its release in December. This warm reception prompted ZTE to include voice recognition in its long-term mobile strategy:

Over the next few years, we will implement our voice control technology across all ZTE devices. While we will continue to develop our Star series and voice control technology in unison, we will no longer limit our competitive strength to this series alone. Stay tuned for more exciting updates over the next few months.

Zeng said that the experience, mature technology, and partner relationships are ZTE’s advantages over competitors developing similar products. The Chinese giant has been working on voice recognition for the past four years, collaborating with big names like Audience, Nuance, Alibaba, and Baidu.

Our Gary Sims was impressed with the Voice Assistant feature of the ZTE Star 2 in his in-depth review. The phone listens for commands like “call mom” or “open Twitter” and it works even when the phone is offline and sleeping. Unlike in some other implementations, you can train your phone to listen to any wake-up phrase and you can even set “magic words,” which are commands that don’t need a wake-up phrase to work.

It remains to be seen if ZTE will be able to differentiate its solution and turn it into a real selling point. Users already have an excellent alternative in Google Now, but, thanks to its control over hardware and software, ZTE may be able to offer a superior experience.