Dec. 14, 2011 at 3:09 PM ET
It's not exactly the final frontier, but the buzz around Siri has seemed to give Android's makers enough of a kick to come out with their own version of the smartphone voice-activated personal assistant, codenamed after a venerable Star Trek legend, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry.
Taylor Wimberly, founder of Android and Me, published a post with unattributed information that by year's end, Majel could make her debut as Android's answer to the Siri overnight sensation.
Speaking of actions, it sounds like only Google search queries will be included with the initial release, that could come as soon as this year. I say this year because I’ve heard that engineers at Google X are working around the clock on finishing the first release and the NY Times previously reported that one product would be released by Google X this year.
December is nearly half over, so a January or February release might be more realistic. Other more advanced features like controlling phone actions and applications with natural language commands are expected to come later.
We've contacted Google for comment, but there is some cause to believe Wimberly's tip, namely in Google's recent acquisition of Clever Sense, makers of Alfred, a "personal robot" app available for Android and iOs devices that learns your favorite places to go out, to eat and other habits to create curated recommendations.
Google also acquired Phonetic Arts, which specializes in speech synthesis.
If you're not a fan of the sci-fi cult franchise, Barrett-Roddenberry is the widow of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, and has held three key roles spanning the various TV series and movies: She was the voice of the Federation ship computers, which explains Google's interest in her name, but she also played Nurse Chapel (who later got her M.D.) in the original series, and Lwaxana, mother of Counselor Troi in the "Next Generation." Often embarrassing to her more conservative daughter, Mrs. Troi was a fan favorite who also pined for Capt. Picard.
While we're still waiting on official confirmation, these are exciting developments for a voice-activated world that would be at home on any sci-fi show.