[Android] Iris: Android’s answer to iPhone’s Siri

In a way it isn’t fair to claim Android is “answering” iPhone when it comes to voice recognition/assistance. Anyone that has held an Android device in their hands knows Android has had excellent (albeit not exactly conversational Siri-like) voice recognition/assistance for longer – and on more devices – than iOS. However, Android wouldn’t be Android if someone was not mocking Apple’s latest shiny toy. Hence, I present Iris, a recently released voice assistant app for Android. Yes, that is Siri spelled backwards.

Iris is, as the app name and the image above may imply, an app that users give audio commands to and the app responds. You can chose to have non-intelligent “conversations” with Iris – similar to how you can have “conversations” with Siri – or you can have Iris do a task for you. Currently Iris can call someone, text someone, search something (on the web), and lookup a contact. More features may be (or may not be) added in the future.

Iris is a new app (the devs claim they made it in eight hours) and is in alpha stage right now. So expect more than a few bugs. However, Iris uses Android’s native TTS library (you must have SpeechSynthesis Data Installer and Voice Search installed on your phone to use Iris; if you can already use voice commands on your phone, such as dictate a text message, and Google Maps talks to you in navigation mode then you already have both installed) so even in alpha the accuracy for Iris is very good, although not perfect. (Siri isn’t perfect either, mind you.)

For practical purposes there are better voice assistance apps on Android, such as Vlingo or Android’s native voice commands feature. However, if you are looking for cheap entertainment, Iris is here to please. Or make you angry.Or make you beat the crap out of your Android device and then go buy an iPhone 4S.

You can grab Iris from the following links:

Version reviewed: v1.1.0 (Alpha)

Supported OS: Android 2.1 and up

Price: Free

Download size: 452 KB

Iris [Android Market]

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