Apple’s iPhone 4S may have been a slight disappointment for those who have been holding out, waiting for the iPhone 5—obviously not disappointment enough to seriously affect sales numbers, but a bit of a letdown none the less. But Siri, the little application that could, has managed to make quite the impression, stealing the spotlight and impressing the few who have been lucky enough to get their hands on the new handset.
Siri’s been hailed as a revolutionary new technology that will change mobile and how we use it—and Apple has simultaneously been praised for massively introducing us to the application. But if you thought Android users were simply out of luck, left in the dark while the iPhone users get the left up on this new tool, you’d be wrong.
Speaktoit Assistant for Android (soon available for BlackBerry and iOS) is trying to fill this void with its own take on the virtual assistant. Its popularity has risen significantly since the introduction of Siri, although it doesn’t quite live up to the built-in iOS app’s prestige.
For starters, Speaktoit has a cartoon avatar to give it a personal touch, but it just seems a little adolescent for most users who are actually interested in this app. More importantly, Speaktoit doesn’t have the affiliates that Siri does—at least not yet. While this number is likely to grow seeing as Android users will probably want access to something Siri-like given how core it’s going to become for iOS, at the moment you’ll be sent to your mobile Web browser to finish details of your requests. For instance, Siri partners with OpenTable so you can simply ask it to make you a reservation and it corresponds with OpenTable to get the job done. Speaktoit sends you to OpenTable’s website.
But despite an elementary UI and a lack of integration, Speaktoit’s technology is impressive. You don’t have to use computer-robot-speak for the app to recognize what you’re saying, and the app learns as you use it, so it becomes increasingly helpful. Services like weather and nearby restaurants worked perfectly, and Speaktoit is also able to have inane conversations with you, a la Siri. Here’s a demo video of the app in action: