The Android Answer to Siri

Android smartphone users now have a free, powerful voice assistant app working hard to rival Apple’s.

Every time Apple comes out with a new iPhone, my Android-using friends mock the new features as “catching up” to Android. Well, there’s one thing Android doesn’t have: Siri, the voice-activated personal assistant.

Yes, there are a lot of clones: Skyvi, Jeannie, Iris, EVA. Some are even free. But as TechCrunch explains, “Most of these, however, clearly show that Siri was the result of a massive research project that isn’t easy to replicate.”

Enter another oddly named assistant app: Maluuba. It’s the result of a 2010 research project at the University of Waterloo, free, and what a TechCrunch writer calls “the closest thing I’ve seen to a viable Siri competitor on Android… there is a good chance we’ll see the service pre-installed on a number of Android phones in about six months.”

And there’s an iOS version in development, so Apple users may soon be able to pit Maluuba against Siri directly. We welcome anyone who’s used either or both to share their opinions. (I’m an iPhone user, but I didn’t feel compelled to upgrade to 4S from 4, so I have no Siri and no strong opinions about “her” or other assistant apps.)

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