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So You Really Want Siri But You Have An Android

Siri is taking over the iPhone experience. Admittedly, after watching the commercials (or here and here) I’m ready to abandon my Android and pick up an iPhone. I’m sure many other Android users are in the same “boat” too. Well, as I wrote about before, Android offers some alternatives, which are decent.

I recently spent an extensive amount of time testing three of the more popular front runners, Vlingo Virtual Assistant, Speaktoit Assistant, and Skyvi (Siri for Android).

First off, each of these has their problems, and none runs as crisp or clear as Siri looks in the commercials. However, all of them are free, and this sort of makes up for their lack of performance. Second, I have a natural bias against these types of apps, since I think anyone talking to their device is a bit odd. Generally though, if you’re an attorney interested in finding an Android alternative to Siri, I think you’ll be most pleased with (drum roll):

Speaktoit Assistant.

I know, many of the “experts” say Vlingo, and although Vlingo is cool, Assistant performs many of the similar tasks as Siri, which edges out Vlingo slightly.

Assistant is a well-designed application, with a great userface, and overall, performed tasks better than its competitors.

Assistant is customizable, meaning you can change the interface, speaker, and background. The default is a female “assistant” with a digitized voice (using default text-to-speech, somewhat annoying), but I customized my background and interface to a frilly green (you can use your default wallpaper) and a microphone. I also made my assistant a little sexier by changing the voice to “Female USA” (hubba, hubba).

All of these assistants depend on Google’s native voice search, which is sketchy at times to say the least. While Vlingo performed well, Assistant seemed to be most accurate, probably achieving 80-85% accuracy in the car (docked), and 95% accuracy while held. Vlingo often struggled with even basic tasks, such as displaying the weather or taking me to website:

Admittedly, there were some times when Assistant couldn’t perform, and presented me with a generic Google search (I could do that). But, after some use, Assistant began to improve it’s accuracy, and certainly performed more like Siri.

One thing I didn’t like about any of the apps was the poor performance on calendaring. Speaktoit added everything in lower case (kind of annoying for a guy that likes proper titles), and Vlingo often wanted to search, again, or “missed the first part,” which Vlingo did a lot.

Vlingo has, and the other apps don’t, an in-car setting that allows you to say, “Hey Vlingo,” and the app will respond. This is pretty cool, and makes it easier to go “hands free” in your vehicle. However, the in car features only work when the app is in session, and fails to run when any other program operates (i.e. navigation or Pandora). There’s no way to multitask this app, therefore, if you want the “Hey Vlingo” feature, you need to run Vlingo In-Car constantly. Note: none of the programs operates or functions without the app “in session.”

Unfortunately for Skyvi, it just seemed too childish (one of the praised features is “fun chats, witty remarks, tells jokes) to gather any real steam for me. It’s focused too much on updating my social networks than on providing me a tool to manage my life. I think as time goes on  Skyvi will certainly improve (check out the change logs), and may become a qualified competitor.

So, if you’re a lawyer looking for an Android version of Siri, you’ll want to check out Speaktoit Assistant. While it’s certainly not perfect, it’s a viable solution, for now.

Vlingo Virtual Assistant 3.0

Speaktoit Assistant

13 Responses to So You Really Want Siri But You Have An Android

  1. Matt Austin says:

    Just downloaded Speaktoit after your review. Having a great time playing with it. Seems like a nice Siri alternative.

  2. [...] Iris, the Android answer to iPhone’s Siri, is gaining a lot of attention for it’s “racist” and “pro-life” comments. Apparently, when you ask Iris whether abortion is wrong, you’ll find it’s pro-life praise and supporting Bible verses. Note: Iris isn’t my preferred app for answering Siri. [...]

  3. [...] you’re interested in finding my favorite current Siri-killer, you might check out this post (spoiler: it’s the assistant referenced above, I love it!). Tags: Android, Assistant, [...]

  4. [...] when you’re out of town). My next-favorite go-to app is Speaktoit Assistant (check out my review), which offers a great hands-free assistant. I use this app primarily in-car. Its recognition is [...]

  5. [...] now, my favorite app for sending emails, opening programs, and responding to text messages is Speaktoit Assistant. There’s one flaw with the program, which I’ve sent numerous requests to the developers [...]

  6. [...] prefer Speaktoit Assistant over Vlingo, slightly. I love Vlingo’s “speak and respond” feature, but I find [...]

  7. [...] few reasons for Android users to be jealous of the new iOS 6. What does make me jealous? Siri (and here for a follow-up), Facetime, and Passbook. That looks like a cool app. I haven’t really [...]

  8. [...] If you don’t have Jelly Bean on your phone (and frankly, not many do), then you may want to try Robin (free). While it’s not even close to my preferred Siri-like assistant for Android, it’s developing into a serious competitor, especially now since the developers added “parking assist.” The Lifehacker folks like Vlingo, but I prefer Speaktoit Assistant. [...]

  9. [...] uses Vlingo‘s technology. Vlingo is many people’s favorite voice control app, mine is Assistant. It’s easy to be jealous of a new glittery item, until you find out you have the latest and [...]

  10. [...] the app is still beta, and lacks some of the functional capabilities of Speaktoit Assistant or Maluuba, Dragon Mobile Assistant is still an app to [...]

  11. [...] Speaktoit Assistant (free): this is the Siri alternative on Android, though it doesn’t quite function like Siri, it’s a great resource for the “personal assistant” and it’s improving everyday. I predict however, that with Vlingo‘s (free) merger with Nuance (makers of Dragon), Vlingo will improve greatly, and fast. [...]

  12. [...] with “the cool kids.” Then apps like Vlingo and, my favorite, Speaktoit Assistant (reviewed here) appeared—apps that in some ways performed more functions, more smoothly than their iOS [...]

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