The latest and greatest from Apple always strikes a cord with web-friendly crowd, and this week the attention has been focused on Apple's newest software upgrade to its iPhone 4S, the personal assistant app, Siri. But those of us not looking to upgrade or join the dark side could feel a little left out of the action. Fear not, we're here to help our fellow Android users to get in on the Siri action with these personal assistant.
Voice control has been around for ages, and in fact since its early days, Android has been carrying this function through Google Voice Search built-in to your Android phone. And this is our first recommendation for voice control, specifically the voice actions. Voice actions allow you to do many things that Siri does such as sending emails and texts. The best part of Google voice search is the integration with all the Android apps, including Maps and Navigation. Being a built-in Google app, this allows for deep integration with all of the functions on Android, which makes all the commands easy to use.
Another good alternative is Vlingo Virtual Assistant, a free app from the Android Market. With a more expanded list of functions including updating your social network, launch apps, even buy movie tickets. Vlingo offers a more customizable experience, and availability in a variety of languages makes this a very powerful app. We also love the InCar functionality, much like Google's own car mode, the Vlingo InCar mode integrate its powerful voice control with easy-to-use car settings. We especially like the wake-up command in while using InCar mode, allowing you to wake Vlingo by voice, so you can keep your hands on the wheel.
Both of these are excellent alternatives to Siri on Android. But through our brief hands on with both apps, they are not as intuitive as Siri. Both apps do have easy to remember commands that will offer a very similar experience to Siri. Through test all the apps with some tongue twisters, we found the voice recognition on both these apps are just as accurate as Siri. Another major downside to either app is that neither talks back to you so you won't be able to invoke the hilarious responses to some silly questions like Siri.
TechCrunch also recently reported on a new kid on the block, Iris, which is hacked together soon after the release of Siri by the folks at Dexetra.com, in just 8 hours. This app is more like Siri in terms of understanding more natural language. A screen shot of it revealed the humorous side of Iris. And if you're wondering about the name, it is the literally the reverse of Siri.
Iris is less of a personal assistant but rather a search engine, giving you facts instead of allowing you to send text. But keep in mind this is something the team at Dexetra put together in just eight short hours, given time there might be some great things to come for this app. You can download the alpha version of the app directly on the Android Market.