Samsung squashes hack of voice assistant app

Samsung is blocking a hack of its S Voice digital assistant software that allowed any phones running Ice Cream Sandwich to use the app.

Samsung is blocking a hack of its S Voice digital assistant software that allowed any Android phone running Ice Cream Sandwich to use the app.

The hack of the app, designed for Samsung's hot new Galaxy S III smartphone scheduled to reach retailers on May 29, was revealed Saturday in the XDA Forum.

Since that time, Samsung started blocking the functionality of the app if it's running on any phone model other than the Galaxy S III.

Reportedly, phones running S Voice are sending information to the servers that support the software, but the servers, which are run by Vlingo, are ignoring any information requests that don't originate from a Galaxy S III. Such requests produce a "Network Error" message on the handset.

Apparently that's relatively easy to do because data strings sent by the app to the servers contain information identifying the phone model from which they were sent.

Theoretically, those strings could be spoofed to fool the servers into thinking the data originated with a Galaxy S III. It remains to be seen if the hacker community will produce such spoofing software.

Reviews of the hacked version of S Voice were mixed. Some users found functionality limited to search, weather reports, and waking up a phone by shouting "Hi, Galaxy!" One user, though, wrote that the software worked as advertised on a Galaxy Nexus model.

S Voice is Samsung's answer to Apple's Siri voice-activated personal assistant. It does much of what Siri does, as well as some things it doesn't, such as turning off an alarm by saying snooze and snapping a picture when you say, "Cheese."

Samsung pulled the wraps off the Galaxy S III on May 3, and the smartphone compares favorably with competitors in its class such as the HTC One X and iPhone 4S. (Also see "Want Siri on Your Android Phone? Try These Apps.")

Follow freelance technology writer John P. Mello Jr. and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John P. Mello Jr.

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Cygnett 2500 ChargeUp Pocket Lightning Portable Power Bank

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?