This article was translated by John R. Bopp

A Basque man has dived into the field of digital assistants for mobile devices head-first.

Many of us have read about the competition between Google and Apple in the field of smartphones.  The battle started over operating systems, i.e. IOS and Android.  Then it spread into apps.  Google has seen how its Maps app was substituted on iPhones by Apple’s app, with limited success (if not an outright failure).  Meanwhile, Apple has watched as Google set in motion a voice-activated assistant, which is now competing with Apple’s Siri.  This battle of the digital assistants that can understand natural language and eliminate the need to type in order to carry out searches or different functions on a smartphone is one of the upcoming short- to medium-term battles that will determine the success of operating systems.

Well then, a Basque man has now joined the fray: Xabier Uribe-Etxebarria, diving in with his own free digital assistant for Android, called Sherpa.  To give you an idea of its immediate success, it was downloaded 50,000 times in the first four days it was available.

Now, it’s starting to understand different accents of Spanish, including those spoken in South America.  This is quite necessary so as to be useful in those countries, since the ability to understand the small (and large) variations of a language is fundamental for the system to work correctly.  This Basque man, from Bilbao (which is quite obvious when you see the video presentation of his app) is prone to creating his own niche in this market of the future.

We found this information in an Argentine daily.  Just one thing, though.  If anyone in South America has doubts about whether a small company led by a Basque man can compete with the IT giants, we’re not going to explain how small companies with successful products can come out of nowhere to become those giants (just look at Google itself).  We’re just going to remind them of the story of the Vasco de la Carretilla, who’s famous in Argentina.  In order to be sure Xabier’s project is successful, all you have to do is tell him there’s no way he could beat Google and Apple.  That’ll be enough to light his fire to make sure it happens!

We’re impatiently looking forward to his finally competing with Siri so that Apple users can also enjoy this app on their devices…..

La Nación – 11/12/2012 – Argentina

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Xabier Uribe-Etxebarría, the founder of Sherpa. Photo: Sherpa

Xabier Uribe-Etxebarría tiene 31 años, es vasco y fanático del Athletic Bilbao que dirige Marcelo Bielsa (aunque está poco contento con los últimos resultados). También, amante del montañismo, razón por la que le puso Sherpa a su producto: un homenaje a ese ayudante que, muchas veces en las sombras, es crucial para cualquier ascenso en el Himalaya.

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