Though 95% of this blog’s posts are going to be about skepticism in science, medicine, and the natural world, I, as the author, reserve the right to talk about stuff that thrills me in sports and technology. A couple of weeks ago, I talked about the vokul app for the iPhone 4. If you have an iPhone 4S, you have access to Siri, a voice control system that connects with Apple’s servers and provides all kinds of assistance. It can read texts, find stuff for you, and apparently has a great sense of humor. What makes it different than other voice control systems is that it understands natural speech. You don’t have to say “open up calendar. Check 10 AM.” You can say, “what’s going on with my schedule today?”
I had made a decision to not upgrade to the new iPhone, because, other than Siri, there weren’t many compelling features in the iPhone 4S. Sure it has more speed and memory, but still, not really making me want it. Except for Siri. I wanted Siri.
I have tried a couple of apps that claim to be like Siri (and to be honest, I was skeptical). They both have their good points and bad, but if you don’t have the 4S, because you’re waiting for the next iPhone (5?), can’t afford the price, or are just not into upgrading every year, but really want Siri, you have a couple of decent choices. I’ve tried both, and if I could merge their DNA, I’d be happy, but they both have some positives and negatives.
The vokul – KulTek, LLC is a relatively new one in the voice control area. And it works. I’ve been texting with it, which is fun while driving. What really stands out is the voice recognition, which is amazing, beyond anything I could have imagined. If this is the fake Siri, then maybe I need to get that 4S. As good as it is, it only does things now, controlling the iPod player, making calls and texting. It cannot read texts. It cannot search google. And it cannot have a humorous conversation. But if you’re driving along a freeway and want to send out a text or make a call without searching through a few menus, then this is a great choice.
The second one I’ve tried is Evi – True Knowledge, which covers the bases that vokul can’t. It searches google, so you can ask “where is the nearest sushi restaurant.” it gives the answers as a list. It uses the location of your iPhone to provide answers. It does a relatively good job, but it can’t make phone calls or send texts. But it’s only $0.99, so it wasn’t a waste to get it, and again, if you want to do hands free communications, it does a great job.
I have both. I use vokul much more, but Evi has a place in my 200 apps on my iPhone.