Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Samsung, Vlingo begin blocking unofficial S Voice server requests

Samsung's S Voice feature, coming to the Galaxy S III, sounds an awful lot like the Siri feature on the iPhone 4S. It turns out, that just like Siri, it has to contact the Mother Ship to get information for its responses, and just like Siri, it can deny access to devices it does not recognize.

The S Voice APK file had been obtained by one of the members of XDA Developers, and was released to the wild, giving Ice Cream Sandwich devices the chance to try it out. It wasn't even limited to Samsung devices, although it also didn't receive great reviews when compared to Siri, either.

You can still install that APK, but just as when folks tried Siri on the iPhone 4, Samsung - and its technology partner on S Voice, Vlingo - can prevent access to their servers based on the device ID.

Sometime in the last day or so, the two partners have begun blocking requests from unsupported S Voice devices. Instead of a successful response, the message: ”Network Error. Please Try Again,” is displayed.

The above image, Tweeted by Android user Nitish Kumar, shows the results of Samsung and Vlingo's handiwork.

XDA Developers confirmed the change, with this post:
S Voice is definitely hosted at Vlingo servers IP address Same IP address is used when I start using Vlingo.

IP address:
IP country code: US
IP address country: United States
ISP of this IP: Verizon Business
Organization: VLINGO

Second thing is that, at the moment we start using S Voice we are sending all the following info to them:

X-vlclient: DeviceMake=samsung; DeviceOSName=Android; DeviceModel=Galaxy Nexus; DeviceOS=4.0.4; Language=en-US; ConnectionType=DirectTCP; Carrier=[my Carrier]; CarrierCountry=[my Country]; DeviceID=[my IMEI]; AudioDevice=Android\r\n

...looks easy to them to deny the requests from the phones other than Galaxy SIII ! and they are doing this obviously, look at the response: HTTP 340 HTTP/1.0 404 Not Found
Expert Info (Chat/Sequence): HTTP/1.0 404 Not Found\r\n
It wouldn't seem to be that difficult to hack the APK to deliver a hard-coded Device ID for the Galaxy S III, and that should fix the issue. At least, it will fix it, until Samsung and Vlingo one-up the hackers.

As far as the poor results of S Voice testing thus far, it's somewhat common sense. One would expect the results of S Voice to closely mirror the results of using Vlingo's stand-alone app, and it sounds, from users of the APK, that it does.

Vlingo does work well, but it is certainly not the equal of Siri. Down the road, however, who knows?

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