Comcast adding voice controls to X1 Remote apps for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch

Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) engineers have completed a software update on apps for Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch which will allow its Xfinity X1 subscribers to navigate cable programming with voice commands, a spokesman told FierceCable Thursday.

Comcast X1 app

Comcast will soon add voice controls to its X1 Remote app for iOS devices. (Image source: Comcast)

"It is going to launch soon," the Comcast spokesman said, noting that the app is in the process of being certified.

Comcast already lets X1 subscribers navigate programming by swiping the screen on iOS devices as well as through motion and gesture controls. For example, subscribers using the X1 Remote app can shake an iPhone to pause a program.

The updated X1 Remote app will allow subscribers to search for programming by speaking search terms such as program titles or the names of actors or networks, the Comcast spokesman said.

Comcast was the first pay TV provider to launch apps for Apple's iPad and iPhone that allow subscribers to use the mobile devices as a remote control. Its Xfinity app has been downloaded more than 8 million times since November 2010, according to Comcast.

The nation's largest cable MSO launched the X1 Remote app in May, when its cloud-based Xfinity X1 service debuted in Boston. Comcast has expanded the rollout of Xfinity X1, which lets users access interactive apps from Pandora and Facebook, to Atlanta, San Francisco and several other markets.

Adding voice controls to the X1 Remote app could help Comcast compete with AT&T's (NYSE: T) U-verse TV service, which accepts voice commands through the U-verse Easy Remote app that it launched in September. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) lets subscribers in the Kansas City area navigate Google Fiber TV programming with voice controls. Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) has also integrated voice and gesture controls through apps on its Xbox 360, and LG and other consumer electronics manufacturers are also integrating voice controls into new connected TVs.

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