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SIRI for Android app review: Is IRIS the new leader?

A few days ago, the Android Market offered an app called the "Official" SIRI for Android. It wasn't. And because Google stays on top of monitoring their open market, they were able to remove it from the Market in very short order. Kudos to Google. I'd still much rather have an open market which sometimes needs to be tweaked than not.

But, this review is not of the app which was removed from the Market, but of an app that was created by a group of developers in only eight hours a few months back, cleverly(?) called IRIS (SIRI backwards).

First, let me say that the fact that the developers created this interactive voice personal assistant app to compete with the iPhone's SIRI in a mere eight hours (or so the instant-legend claims), is an incredible accomplishment. Ultimately though, for me it was only a fun novelty for a short while before I decided that as far as personal assistant apps go for the Android, I much prefer using Vlingo.

It sounded intriguing to have an app for Android that would verbally respond to your requests, so i downloaded and loaded the free IRIS app (there are a number of other SIRI clones as well). After I was done asking the usual array of stupid questions like, "Are you a man or woman?"; "Are you married?"; "Are you better than Siri?"; I moved on to informational things such as, "What will the weather be like tomorrow?"; "How far is it to the Moon?"; "Where is Matagascar?" She (I confirmed that) did okay. Just okay.

For instance, I asked IRIS, "How many U.S. dollars are there in a British pound?" The reply, although accurate, was far more confusing than the question. IRIS returned the calculation for a number that she just pulled  out of her cyber-butt  and returned with a reply which told me how many GBP you would have if you had 7,200,000 U.S. dollars. Often, I found that you had to continually rephrase questions until you finally got the answer you were looking for.

Then, I moved on to trying more productive things like asking IRIS to open apps and text people for me. She couldn't do either.

One of the features of Vlingo that I love and use often is for texting. You can open Vlingo and speak: "Text Joe I'm on my way period do you want me to bring anything question mark" and it gets it right 95% of the time. Another useful feature of Vlingo which comes in quite handy is when you want to open an app that you don't use all that often, and you don't want to scroll through all of your apps to find it, you simply say, "Open stopwatch" and Voila! it opens right up.

As a novelty, IRIS is rather fun, but not nearly as useful a tool as I had hoped. I won't uninstall though, because when those smug, iPhone users are showing off SIRI, I can at least open IRIS and ask a loaded question that I know the bitch has the right anser to. :)


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