Siri Alternatives: Voice recognition for your smartphone
19th Apr 2012 | 12:05
Nuance's 'Dragon' voice recognition series has been going for years and years. Following on from their catalogue of software for PC, Dragon Go! is their answer to Siri-style smartphone voice recognition. Dragon Go! will help you find shops and services, check the weather around the world and if you ask for train times or cinema showings it will deliver you to a relevant website where you can find all the infomation you need. It also has a simple pop-up toolbar featuring link share options between SMS, email, Facebook and Twitter. Dragon Go! is not trying to be Siri at all - it is much simpler and in many ways much more effective.
Price: Currently US only I Platform: iPhone I Download Dragon Go! iPhone app
Vlingo is very much along the same lines as Siri. The app models itself as a 'virtual assistant' from the get go and does pretty much everything that you would expect from its Apple iPhone-based cousin. Vlingo will find you a coffee shop in the morning, get your train times and then text your boss to tell him you'll be late, all via simple voice commands. Also, a simple 'update Facebook' command will allow you to change your status in a matter of seconds. Add to all this that the voice to text technology itself is pretty good (dependant of course on your handset's microphone) and that the app is completely free and it's a bit of a no-brainer really. And it's available on almost any phone platform? Impressive.
Iris began as a tongue-in-cheek reply to Siri (hence Siri backwards) and was developed in less than a day by Android development team Dexetra. Although Iris is very much still in alpha phase of its development cycle, it is still a huge amount of fun to play around with. It won't give you the concise helpful answers that you might get out of Siri (or Vlingo for that matter) but you can have a much more amusing conversation with Iris, about anything from classical music to history or sports. Iris will make phone calls for you, and sending SMS' is also possible if a little confusing but it won't do much else other than make you laugh via inaccurate voice recognition and humerous responses.
Price: Free I Platform: Android Download Iris.(alpha) Android app
Ziggy is another free assistant app that has the capacity to turn your speech into transcribed text. So that means, just like Siri, you can ask the app all manner of questions and receive surprisingly in-depth results. If the app, which was developed solely by Shai Leib can find the answer, which it invariably does, it will speak back to you, and if not it will direct you to a Bing search. Ziggy is an excellent Windows Phone alternative to the iPhone-based Siri and responds well to both simple mathmatical problems, directional assistance as well as more in depth questions such as "was Darth Vader a good guy?"
Price: Free I Platform: Windows Phone 7