Siri for Android? Come on Siri is from Apple and for Apple. Yes we know but there is always a “but” in everything. Since it’s premier as a core feature of the iPhone 4S, Siri as I outlined earlier, has got everyone talking. Not to be left behind, a plethora of applications has since taken the Android market, Google’s premier app store for devices running it’s flagship mobile (ok and tablets these days) operating system, Android, by storm.
Since last week I’ve downloaded and tested a couple of them that are available free for download on the Android Market (I haven’t yet spotted premium virtual voice assistants). Of all the apps I downloaded, 9 or so, 4 of them impressed me and I hereby give a quick insight on them.
4. ANDY – Siri for Android
Well I rank Andy 4th because though it managed to impress me, it still requires some serious polishing up. The app requires one to first of all install a speech synthesizer from the Market. It actually redirects to the Android market immediately after being launched. Why it does not integrate with the TTS apps that come pre-installed on Android devices I don’t know.
It is made by 74 Technologies. A big plus of this app is that it has a large custom database on various fields of knowledge. Yes it knows you’ll ask those mind-boggling questions. It has a cool user-interface. As a result of the database, it is able to pull out some wealth of information though it has slight difficulties understanding African accents. Additionally, it does with a Bluetooth headset on and has the ability to answer algebra questions. (For me this feature failed miserably. It only got the correct answer once). All in all, out of 10 I rate it 4.
3. SKYVI – Siri For Android
Skyvi is well established as a virtual voice assistant. It has had over 100,000 downloads on the Android Market already. The number could even be higher in third party Android app stores. It is developed by Bluetornad. It does everything the description on the Market says. For me, all these features worked though not with the accuracy I would’ve expected. It can search anything from finding local businesses to food nutrition.
With Skyvi you finally can feel the iOS Siri presence from a far. A departure from the fixate Andy, Skyvi actually jokes with you. It can pull profiles and updates from the various social networks. It however does not read these updates to you. Version 1. 01 is what I tested.With the inconsistent performance, an update must be on the way.
2. Vlingo for Android
Ok, Vlingo has been in this market for long and is well established. Vlingo is a cross-platform application. Vilingo Virtual Assistant, made by Vlingo is the most popular siri-like Android application. It has had over a million downloads on the Android Market. It takes pride in being able to work well on phones with unstable or unreliable network connection. It gives out various options like you can send texts and emails. You can search the web, do voice dialling, find local businesses and update your social media profiles.(Can even let you check in to your Foursquare). I used version 2.3.1 and generally the app is super-lightweight.
1. Speaktoit assistant
This app is very impressive. Infact there isn’t much I can write about it just go try it by yourself. Out of all the apps I’ve shortly reviewed here, Speaktoit is the one that gets you closer to the true Siri experience. It has skins for changing between the various voice personas, that is the assistants. You can pick either a handsome agent, a brunette girl, a pretty blonde or some old professors. It easily integrates with Google Maps and yes add this to your phone’s Navigation app and directly are whispered to your ear.
There’s actually a voice assistant from Google itself. I didn’t review this but it’s also worth a peek while we await a full blown Android voice assistant. The app is Voice Actions made by Google and is easily downloadable from the Android Market since it is super-lightweight. One word of caution though, it consumes lots of data the more you make it “run errands”.
Finally, word is rife that Google is planning to launch a serious Siri competitor or as the pundits would call it, a Siri killer. It is rumoured to be code-named Majel. Well, this is one thing to watch out for in the new year, 2012.
For now, let your phone talk to you and do some minor stuff for you using these handy apps. One final word, they are all Siri wannabes since they can’t yet stand the intelligence of Siri.