The competition between mobile platforms will turn into a competition between the user experience (UX) and artificial intelligence (AI) of the virtual personal assistants (or what ever they turn out to be in the future), currently Siri from Apple, GoogleNow, and Cortana from Microsoft.
There are 1.5 billion smart phones in the world (2013). This is a huge market and potentially a huge cultural technology space, where the industry can invest their resources.
Because the problem of the AI itself is complex, not to mention combining that with UX, there is a lot of room for innovation and competitive advances. If the problem were simple, it would be more straightforward to predict the disruptions of who-what-where. But it's not. It's ill-defined and there is no culture for the UX and non-discovered things in general. More insight could be created with a little bit of work, though. Pay me, and I will do it ;)
The article is great starter for someone, who wants to take an antropological approach to the understanding of digital personal assistants. Here's my favorite quotes from the article:
"We need to make sure that the voice actually has human sounding phrases to say."
Privacy creates trust.
People need to understand, how the PA works, so they can trust it more.
Cortana will "make inferences about you based on the information you tell her."
"She works for you, so you can take that and say that’s wrong, and ‘why would you assume that I like this particular restaurant?’ And she’ll say ‘well because I observed this particular behavior about you.’ And if you say ‘well that’s not correct,’ she’ll respond ‘okay got it.’"
"We asked them [the human personal assistants] tell us about the relationship with the person [he or she] worked for. We said, tell me the types of things you do for them. Tell me how much they have to ask you to do things for you versus how proactive you are. That’s where we got a lot of insight."
"We focus a little bit more on contextual triggers that we think people will actually understand. We always talk about 3 triggers—we talk about time, we talk about location and we talk about people. Those are the triggers people get. Let’s just focus on a set of things that are going to be of high utility and limit the number of triggers so that people can understand what the system is capable of."
"For us is a notion of personality. When we look at Google, they’ve made some pretty clear decisions. It’s about getting you quickly and efficiently to Google’s services. It’s not about personality. There’s just something really delightful that makes people smile about having an anthropomorphic personality inside this assistant. We studied this a lot and looked at people’s reaction in labs; it just makes people smile. It also opens up this type of trust relationship we talk a lot about."