Siri started out as just an ordinary third-party app until it was swooped up by Apple, and there are still a number of similar rivals that you can use to add voice-recognition features to older iPhones, as well as the iPod Touch and iPad.
Vlingo can't be called up from anywhere in iOS - you have to run the app first
The closest counterpart to Siri is probably Vlingo, a free app that used to charge for certain premium features such as dictating SMS messages, but which has decided to go completely free since the launch of Siri.
As it’s a standalone app, you first have to launch Vlingo before you can speak to it. And, like Siri, it requires an active 3G or Wi-Fi internet connection in order to work properly.
Vlingo lets you dictate email (left) and text messages (right)
You simply tap a button on its home screen when you’re ready to start speaking, and then tap again when you’re finished to tell the app to start processing your words.
I found that Vlingo worked just as well as Siri for routine tasks such as dictating short emails, initiating phone calls, and performing web searches. In fact, it actually seems a bit better than Siri at interpreting pauses in your voice and converting them into punctuation marks such as commas and full stops.
Vlingo also works with the Maps app (left) and both Facebook and Twitter (right)
It’s not as well integrated with other iOS apps as Siri is. For instance, you can’t dictate into Notes or Pages with Vlingo as you can with Siri - though there are dedicated dictation apps that you can try too, such as Dragon Dictation.
However, Vlingo does have a couple of tricks up its sleeve that Apple will no doubt want to add to Siri in due course. It can send spoken updates to your Facebook or Twitter accounts, and it also works with the iOS Maps app here in the UK – something that Siri can’t do at all at the moment.
The app comes with examples to get you started
While Vlingo may not be as polished as Siri, it’s still worth checking out if you want hands-free voice control of your iPhone when you’re in the car or jogging around the park. ®
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Been around a while
As far as I know Vlingo hit the app store in 2008 (can't find the link) and became available on Android last month. Speech recognition has been available on the iPhone since around iOS 3.2 and Android a year later in Froyo 2.2 (correct me if I'm wrong).
Speech recognition is just one aspect of what Siri does. The original technology came from this out fit, pretty interesting stuff.
@silverburn You can control itunes & several other things via voice control already, its been built in since the 3GS I think. Just hold the home button and say "Play Next" or "Play Foo Fighters" or similar. Cant do volume though but you can do all these things: http://atmac.org/iphone-voice-com & Vlingo for the fancy stuff like mapping and texting
Android reads back to you as well...
Not sure if this is specific to Android or the Galaxy S2 but when in "Driving Mode" Vlingo will read my incoming texts and emails to me as well as speak the callers ID!
@Jedit... Yeah it could well get pulled. Whilst I believe the iDevices are great devices, work well, etc. this article, and the 4S release just shows why I will NEVER consider an iDevice again (I have owned 2 original iPhones).
Siri WAS available as an app pre 4S (yes not as well integrated, etc), and now the people who used it (admittedly not that many probably), had it removed, and are forced to upgrade if they want to continue using an app they previously used... There is NO reason at all for Siri not to be available for any device iOS 5 is available for, but it could be released, and might be restricted now due to the load that must now have been thrown at the apple servers. At the end of the day I guess most people will play with this and then not use it, demand drops and they could roll it out, we'll see.
But if I was a current iPhone user, using Siri and it now being removed, I'd be really annoyed right now, and there have been plenty of other examples of apps being removed...
Who knows if they'll remove Vlingo or any other similar app in the future, and thats the problem, I don't know, and it can't be guaranteed.
Of course the problem with it on SG2 is that it's more or less hard coded to the home button and seems impossible to remove. That's why I keep accidentally turning it on. A nice toy but I wish I could make it less accessible.