The iPhone 4S has been the most popular iPhone released to date, selling more than 4 million units in its first 3 days of sale alone. It has been reported that the biggest selling point of the iPhone 4S is Siri, and it is easy to understand why when the witty voice assistant is the biggest change from the iPhone 4.
Although the iPhone 4S has an improved A5 processor and dual core GPU, as well as an improved 8 megapixel camera with zero shutter lag, there is not much to really differentiate it from 2010′s iPhone 4. Most of the software updates, like Find My Friends and iMessage, can be obtained on older iPhone models by making an upgrade to iOS 5.
That is, with the exception of Siri. Apple claim this is because Siri is too demanding for older iPhone models and that only the iPhone 4S can handle its complicated computations. But all of the processing behind Siri takes place on Apple servers, and third party app developers have already managed to get Siri working on the iPhone 4. Although, this is not without its own problems, as a Cydia Siri port for the iPhone 4, known as H1Siri, is thought to contain some fairly malicious software within.
Apple has made a big song and dance about Siri because it is really the only thing they have on offer to get people to upgrade to the iPhone 4S from earlier models. But as many people have pointed out, similar apps have been available for Android phone contracts for many months. Here are the top 4 Android apps that offer a similar experience to Siri.
A new iPhone 4S will set you back in excess of £600, for the cheapest model, but you can download SpeakToIt on Android for free. As well as being able to perform virtually all of the tasks that Siri boasts about, SpeakToIt allows you to design a cartoon avatar for your personal assistant.
SpeakToIt may not have all of the witty retorts that Siri has but it is just as useful in day to day usage. If you are actually likely to use a voice assistant for more than posting slightly amusing memes on the internet, then SpeakToIt is certainly worth taking a look at. Far from being a cheap copy of Siri, this app was available for Android several months before the iPhone 4S’ launch.
Perhaps better known than SpeakToIt, Vlingo is also a free voice assistant app that was available from Android Market long before anyone had heard of Siri. Vlingo allows you to dictate SMS messages, place calls and update your Twitter status among other things.
Vlingo also allows you to place a widget on your Android’s homescreen so that you can quickly access its features. Like Siri, the processing is done on external servers, so you will require an internet connection. Vlingo has been available for Android before the iPhone 4 was launched, let alone the iPhone 4S.
Unlike Vlingo and SpeakToIt, Iris was developed in response to Siri (Iris is Siri spelt backwards). The interesting thing about Iris is that its developers managed to get roughly 90% of Siri’s functionality working in less than a day of development.
Iris is still in development and is quite rough around the edges. In one YouTube video by Hemorrdroidsnet, when asked “What is the average rainfall in London”, Iris gives the answer “That is not a knock knock joke.”
This is probably not a preprogrammed witty response like you would find on Siri, but indicative of the work that needs doing for Iris. Still, for an app developed in such a short period of time, Iris looks immensely promising.
Skyvi is perhaps the most interesting voice assistant on this list, as it seeks to differentiate itself from the rest. Rather than being an all-encompassing voice assistant, Skyvi focuses more on the social side of your phone usage, interacting with Twitter and Facebook amongst others.
Skyvi allows you to tweet messages and update your status on Facebook, as well as check out what your friends are up to on these social networks. The range of features offered is pretty limited, but for people who primarily use their Android phone for being social, it can be a great little app to try out.
Siri is nothing new, similar apps have been on Android for quite some time now. The usual Apple fanboy response is that “Siri is so much more than Google Voice”. It is, but Android has so much more than Google Voice as well. While some of these apps may still need some work doing to them, and perhaps most aren’t as slick and sexy as Siri, but if you are seriously intent on using a voice control assistant then apps like Vlingo and SpeakToIt will serve you just as well. They are also much cheaper to obtain than a pricey iPhone 4S contract.