Sure, Siri can be a nice thing to have when you need to look up a quick fact or text a friend while you’re on the road. Just because Apple’s digital assistant has gotten so much hype, however, doesn’t mean you need to run out and buy an iPhone 4S in order to get your own portable personal assistant. While Siri is certainly the most well-known mobile assistant in town, there are quite a few out there that run on older iPhones and Android or Windows Phone mobile operating systems.
Price: 99 cents for iPhone, free for Android (beta)
Evi for Android or iPhone
Evi is a relatively new kid on the block, but probably the closest you’re going to get to Siri in terms of functionality. Just like Siri, you ask Evi questions and get answers. Evi is capable of doing basic web searches plus more complex tasks like helping you look for a restaurant or find the nearest ATM. You can ask Evi questions via text or voice, and you can rate the answers Evi gives you to help her learn and become even more intelligent.
Download: Vlingo for Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone Much like Siri, Vlingo can help you find restaurants near where you’re located, perform web searches for information, and email or text friends. Vlingo takes the role of personal assistant a little further than Siri, however, by also allowing you to update your Facebook and Twitter status from the app. A free version of the app allows for simple web searches, while the paid $10 version adds speech-to-text functionality.
3. Dragon Go!
Download: Dragon Go for Android or iPhone
Dragon Go is integrated with popular web services like OpenTable, YouTube, and Pandora, allowing you to interact with those services simply by talking to your phone, much like you do with Siri. The app can be used to perform tasks like buying movie tickets or performing web searches to look up facts. Findings can then be shared with your friends via Twitter, Facebook, Skype, and Gmail, all without leaving the app.
Download: Iris for Android
Iris is a voice-activated personal assistant for Android that is integrated with services such as YouTube, Twitter, and Bing. You can ask Iris to do things like call or text your friends, search for restaurants nearby, play music, find news, or pull up your favorite cat video from YouTube. The Android-only app requires you to have both Voice Search and TTS library installed on your Android phone to work; however, most Android phones come with both preinstalled.
Use what you’ve got
Don’t forget that phones running Android 2.2 and higher have built-in voice functionality from the get-go. You may not even need a new app, if you’re looking to execute basic spoken commands and translate your speech into text.
If you’re not keen on the apps above, let us know what you’ve found in the comments below.