Feeds

Android voice assistant shootout

Battle of the Siri substitutes

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Android App of the Week Special In the absence of anything shiny, the hoi polloi and the media focused on Siri as the The Big Idea at the iPhone 4S launch. Android has supported basic voice commands for ages, but there are now a number of Siri-wannabes in the Market. But are they of any use other than as a bit of mild amusement?

That depends on the use you put them to. Asking your phone “how many inches in a kilometre” or “what’s the capital of Paraguay” verbally is a darned sight easier than searching for the information in the conventional manner.

But should you trust these systems enough to schedule dinner with Alex for 10pm on 1 December and not up end up with lunch with Alice on 10 December 10 at 1? If you have to double-check every entry, it would have been faster to tap it in with your finger.

Edwin

RH Numbers

Where Edwin comes up trumps is in its use - like Siri - of Wolfram Alpha, which is without doubt the place to go if you want to ask complicated or technical questions.

Edwin also gets the best from Google’s voice recognition system - it was noticeably better even than Siri when it came to interpreting my questions about Newton-metre to foot-pound torque conversions.

Edwin Android app screenshot Edwin Android app screenshot

The on-screen graphics are simplicity themselves: nothing more than a big microphone, and shortcuts to repeat the last thing Edwin said, to open the minimal settings menu and to access the user guide. There’s also a handy option to have anything Edwin says appear briefly on the screen in large, friendly letters.

Oddly enough, the one thing I couldn't get Edwin to do was tell me what the weather was going to be doing either in my location or anywhere else on the face of the planet.

Edwin Android app QR code
Edwin Android app iconReg Rating 75%
Price Free
Size 1.2MB
Apps2SD Yes
More Info

Iris

RH Numbers

A shiny new app that made the news for because it’s name is Siri spelled backwards and for apparently being coded in a mere eight hours.

The tiny, 900KB Iris pulls its information from True Knowledge which seems a decent source of what’s what and who’s who. Ask Iris a question about a thing, person or place and as well as a brief answer it also rustles up an illustrative image.

Iris Android app screenshot Iris Android app screenshot

Iris scored brownie points by being the only app that correctly understood the subtleties of the question, “Do you know the way to San José?” and even found me a copy of the 7in single sleeve.

When I asked Siri the same question, it told me it could only look for maps and locations in the US. Yes, I know Siri can’t do locations outside the States, but I did expect it to figure out the Bacharach and David undertone.

Still very much an alpha release, Iris is developing at a breakneck speed. It underwent a complete graphical redesign only last week – so I expect it to improve over the coming months.

Iris Android app QR code
Iris Android app iconReg Rating 75%
Price Free
Size 900KB
Apps2SD No
More Info

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Next page: Speaktoit Assistant

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD TO DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get parts for HDD models
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Microsoft fitness bands slapped on wrists: All YOUR HEALTH DATA are BELONG TO US
Wearable will deliver 'actionable insights for healthier living'
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
Back to the ... drawing board: 'Hoverboard' will disappoint Marty McFly wannabes
Buzzing board (and some future apps) leave a lot to be desired
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.