Even though Google began working with voice search years ago and could be considered the pioneer in this initiative, Apple’s Siri created lots of expectation and obtained as a result a great success among users; it works well, has a simple but aesthetic design and has re-created the slogan: “your wish is its command”.
However, Android’s responses were soon launched.
Thus, we’ve decided to try some of those apps and compare them, the results of which are presented below. We hope you find them equally useful and interesting.
The four chosen apps have been: Iris by Dexetra; Pocket Blonde 2 by i-Free, Skyvi by Blue Tornado and Andy by 74 Technologies.
HOW TO USE IT
Iris: Tap on the bottom button and speak
Pocket Blonde 2: You can talk tapping on the right bottom button or answer with multi-choice questions: Yes/No/Tell me more/Not interested
Skyvi: It has a menu which provides options. To speak, tap on the button and start.
Andy: Tap on the mic and ask away.
Iris: Doesn’t understand very well, mostly typical questions like who’s Lady Gaga
Pocket Blonde 2: Pretty well, as it uses multichoice mostly
Skyvi: Pretty well.
Andy: Needs to work on this.
DESIGN, UI, EASE OF USE
Iris: Clean design, simple and easy to use.
Pocket Blonde 2: EverFriends: Spoony and Brainy. The assistant works as a tutorial, really easy. Great graphics. More customized.
Skyvi: Menu with several options, more confusing than others. Simple design.
Andy: Clean design: just the mic and answer.
Iris : Call someone, Text someone, Search something, Look up for a contact
Pocket Blonde 2: Alarm clock, Reminder of events, Horoscope, Radio, Notes, Maps, Encyclopedia, Flashlight, Wallet,
Skyvi: Directions, Notification when near a restaurant, Notification to check mail, Remind to pick up dinner when leaving work, Update Facebook and Twitter, Weather information. No call or text.
Andy: Encyclopedia, Directions, General knowledge questions, Weather information, People Asking,
Iris: It force closes sometimes. Understandable since it’s an alpha (?) version.
Pocket Blonde 2: It takes some time to answer the question.
Skyvi: There are times when you tap on an option and it doesn’t respond.
Andy: Takes really long to answer, sometimes it doesn’t even respond.
In conclusion, we could say that these four apps still have a long way ahead of them in order to compete with Siri and become a point of reference. However, each one of them has its advantages and disadvantages, being Everfriends the one that stands out the most. It’s the most personalized and less automatic, and it gives you the chance to answer with multi-choice questions if you’re having trouble in making yourself understood. It includes two assistants and it has a long list of features.
Iris and Skivy are not bad choices but they don’t always understand what you mean or work smoothly enough; with a few improvements they would be much better. Skyvi can be used mostly for directions and reminders while Iris does simple tasks like initiating a call or a message.
The one that needs to work most on its improvements is Andy, which has a simple and easy-to-use design but it takes too long to load some answers which aren’t actually even that long and it has problems understanding some questions.
All four only accept clean English inputs, so it shouldn’t strike anyone that we witness a race in the months to come to launch assistants in other major languages. Likewise, this has just started. The possibilities are far beyond our imagination. Why not voice controlled games? There have been some shy tryouts before without much success -or no success at all, in fact-. Did anyone say Android karaoke?
We’ll be glad to re-try these apps and see where they are at after some updates.