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As-salamu alaykum, Siri? Nuance's Nina targets rival with 38 new global languages

Nuance Communications is upping the ante with Nina, its virtual mobile assistant, adding support for 38 languages and an enhanced tablet experience.

Nina Mobile is a virtual assistant that combines speech recognition, text-to-speech, voice biometrics, and Natural Language Understanding technology. Nina can be added to existing iOS or Android apps - your bank or credit card company could use the technology, for example - to enhance the experience.

The move helps to expand Nuance's availability across North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, and makes it the first to support such broad global language capacity.

"Nina was first to bring the power of the virtual assistant directly into mobile customer service apps, and the response from enterprise organizations and their customers has been amazing," Robert Weidman, Nuance Enterprise Division executive vice president, said in a statement.

"By 'going international' we are able to address the rapidly growing worldwide demand for Nina Mobile with those organizations that want to deliver the same rich, innovative customer self-service experience around the globe," he said.

The new release also expands Nina's existing support for smartphones, adding Apple and Android 4.1 tablets to the family.

During the August release of Nina, Nuance's Weidman touted a level of interactive dialogue and language understanding found with NIna - something with which Apple's Siri has struggled. While iOS users can ask their personal assistant where the nearest Nando's is, Nina can understand what is being said, as well as identify who is saying it. She also allows for personalisation, including her visual appearance and the addition of optional custom TTS voices.

The Nina Virtual Assistant is available via the Nina Mobile SDK for Apple iOS and Android, which connects to the Nina Virtual Assistant Cloud.