Alternatives to Siri for older iPhones.
Siri is the iPhone 4S’s much hated, yet much talked about additional feature. Supposedly, Siri can answer questions to just about anything you ask. In addition, it reads you messages and reminders aloud, as well as allowing you to dictate voice memos. For most, this probably isn’t worth shelling out the extra few hundred dollars you’d need to purchase or upgrade to an iPhone 4S, especially as several alternatives are available as apps. Here are five alternatives to Siri that provide similar functionality without having to change your handset.
Google Search – Free
The Google Search app for iPhone and iPad comes with a voice control function so you can speak commands into the app, which will then find the answer. Anyone who’s ever used the internet knows that Google has the answer to everything, so this app is perfect for times when you can’t type, for example when driving. Google Search also gives you quick and easy access to other Google features, such as Gmail, Docs, and Calendar, so you don’t have to log on through a web page.
Vlingo – Free
Vlingo is designed to be a voice-activated search assistant for iPhone 3G and 4. As well as conducting searches, sending messages and dialing numbers, Vlingo also has Facebook and Twitter integration, so you can update your status with a voice command as simple as “Update Facebook: Hello world”. The commands are simple and intuitive, so you have less room for error, and smart search results enable you to see the results on a map or within a web browser.
Dragon Go! – Free
Dragon Go! is another voice-activated search app that takes you directly to websites that can provide the answer you’re looking for. If you want to look up movie times, for example, the app will direct you to Fandango, or if you want some internet radio, you’ll find yourself on Pandora. The app displays several results for each answer, with the most helpful result in the center. If that doesn’t answer your question, however, you can scroll through the list of websites until you find what you’re looking for. Once you’ve found the information you want, you can share the results via email, Facebook or Twitter straight from the app.
Voice Answer – $3.99
Voice Answer is the most expensive app on the list, but it also comes with the most functions. It’s a comprehensive app that lets you carry out various tasks using voice commands. If talking into an iPhone screen weirds you out, the app also has an animated robot, so it feels more like you’re talking to someone – or something, anyway. Voice Answer carries out all the usual tasks, like making calls, sending texts and email, and running internet searches. In addition, it can also translate words or phrases into alternative languages, play songs from your media library, tell you where you are, give you a weather report, convert measurements and answer general knowledge questions. In moments of boredom, you can also have a general chat with the robot, or ask her to tell you a joke.
Voice Control isn’t technically an app, as it’s a built-in function that comes with iPhone 3G and 4 handsets, as well as third and fourth generation iPod Touch. It doesn’t have nearly as much functionality as Siri or the other apps on this list, however it does allow you to complete useful tasks on your iDevice, including making calls, using FaceTime and playing music. The function works with a bluetooth headset or car kit, so it’s a useful way of staying in touch or selecting entertainment while driving.