Apple recently announced the iPhone 4S, along with its more powerful processor and better camera. However, one of the most interesting aspects of the refresh is the updated iOS and Siri. Siri, according to Apple, “lets you use your voice to send messages, schedule meetings, place phone calls, and more.” This is a great piece of technology to add to mobile devices. However, there are three apps for Android that were doing what Siri does before the iPhone 4S was even built.
Voice Search is an app created by Google with a name that belies its true abilities. Although you can kick off a search on Google with Voice Search, you can also do much more than that. The app allows you to do otherwise tedious, tap-heavy things with a single spoken sentence. For example, to set an alarm on your Android device, you have to select your alarm app, click on the new alarm button, and then adjust the time to when you want the alarm to sound. With Voice Search, you simply say “set an alarm for 3 a.m.” You can also say things like “Text Heather, I’m going to the mall later.” and Voice Search will prepare the text message and let you preview it before hitting send. If you’re looking for a Siri app for Android, Voice Search gets you quite close. You can download Voice Search in the Android Market, if it’s not already installed on your device: Voice Search.
Voice Search isn’t the only Siri-like app for Android. Vlingo is another voice-controlled application that is quite impressive. Vlingo, formerly a paid app, is now free in the Android Market. Vlingo goes a step beyond Google’s Voice Search using third-party app integration. You can tell it to do things like “Update Facebook Status: I’m talking to my phone!” and Vlingo will use the Facebook app to set your status. Vlingo also integrates with Twitter and Foursquare. Vlingo has a very finished feel to it and will surprise you with what it can do. Here’s Vlingo’s page in the Android Market: Vlingo Virtual Assistant.
Edwin is a free app in the Android Market that offers a more natural interaction than either Vlingo or Voice Search. You can ask Edwin things like “What’s the temperature?” and the app will use your GPS location to provide you with the current temperature where you are located, as well as speak it back to you! Edwin has great features, but I found it to be a bit unpolished. The app had more trouble understanding my commands than Voice Search and Vlingo. However, Edwin looks to have a bright future in the world of voice-controlled applications. You can find Edwin in the Android Market: Edwin, Speech-to-Speech.