Alternatives to Siri discussion

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by spinedoc77, Oct 12, 2013.

  1. spinedoc77 macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2009
    After realizing Google Now/Search was a poor substitute for a personal assistant I decided to search around a bit more for a good Siri substitute. I haven't really seen any threads to this effect and figured it would be a good place to start a discussion.

    I've downloaded some personal assistants, but haven't played much with them. I'll update as I test them out. Anyone else find some good ones or have experiences to share?

    Also if anyone has solved the ability to map the bluetooth headset button please post, this is something I miss from the iphone/Siri.

    Dragon Mobile Assistant


  2. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    I haven't used it myself but have seen favorable reviews online so you may want to checkout Utter.
  3. spinedoc77, Oct 12, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2013

    spinedoc77 thread starter macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2009
    Utter looks cool, I DL it and am going to try it.

    Dragon Assistant so far is very good, although it can't search your calendar/reminders. For voice writing texts it's superb. One caveat, the feature where it listens for your voice to wake it up, even if the phone is off, eats up a TON of battery. Just having it on 10 minutes and my phone is down to 78%, this is with the screen on and doing a lot of playing/downloading though. Battery manager says Dragon is responsible for 19% of that, and the screen is 33% so it's eating up 2/3 of what the screen eats up, which seems kind of a lot. It also hogs up your microphone, so no other app can use it. Google search, for example, gets an error "can't connect to microphone" until you turn it off.

    edit: CPU use seems kind of high for Dragon also, just having it idle it was reading around 36% to low 40's.
  4. matttye macrumors 601

    Mar 25, 2009
    Lincoln, England
    Tried many when I had Android. Nothing compared.
  5. kenknotts macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2013
    This is true and Im pretty sure its because Apple has patents on certain features Siri uses in regards to a personal assistant on a phone. Same way Google had to drop the system wide search on Android phones
  6. matttye macrumors 601

    Mar 25, 2009
    Lincoln, England
    I also think Siri has better 'conversation' support for lack of a better term.


    Me: "send a message"

    Siri: "who would you like to send it to?"

    Me: "recipient"

    Siri: "and what would you like the message to say?"

    Me: "blah de blah"

    Siri: "your message to recipient says 'blah de blah' shall I send it?"

    Me: "yes."

    I can't remember if that's it word for word, but that's basically how it works. It's brilliant.

    I love that you can set relationships as well. "Xyz is my girlfriend" followed by "call my girlfriend" will then call Xyz.

    And now you can even tell it how to pronounce names. It just gets better all the time :D
  7. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    Developers can program apps in Windows Phone so you can open the assistant from any app, and ask it to open a certain section, in another app or do such and such.
  8. walie macrumors 6502a

    Nov 15, 2010
    Google now:

    "Send message to recipient blah blah blah"

    All in one message, why should it have to take 3 separate exchanges?
  9. matttye macrumors 601

    Mar 25, 2009
    Lincoln, England
    Siri supports both.

    You can skip a step in my previous example and say 'send a message to recipient' then it will just ask what you want to send, as well.
  10. b166er macrumors 68020


    Apr 17, 2010
    I find Google and S voice to be ok, but Siri understood me almost 100% of the time, while the options on my S4 do not.

    I do like the broader features on Google Now, and I love Now in general. But I do think Siri really has the idea down better as a whole.

    I really want to fast forward to the day where I can just say "Buy two tickets for the 7pm movie tonight" and it's all done.
  11. TheRealCBONE macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2012
    Some people really want to chit chat with their phone. I prefer Star Trek to Star Wars. Short sweet commands instead of having a conversation about what you want. I gave siri a try and I thought it sucked. Between dragon and Google now, all my current phone assistant needs (scant as they are) are being met.

    I don't think the siri crowd is going to get an exact android dupe while apple is so lawsuit happy.
  12. Technarchy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2012
    Google Now would be closer to the mark if it had some semblance of contextual understanding and could be launched from the lock screen.

    I do not like how it seems to treat everything like a Google web search query. It's more like an encyclopedia than a digital assistant.

    And S-Voice is abysmal.

    Siri is one of the things I look forward to having again when I return to the iPhone. I used it daily with my 4S and iPhone 5.
  13. matttye macrumors 601

    Mar 25, 2009
    Lincoln, England
    It's not exactly that I want to chitchat, for me at least. I just like that I don't have to remember commands and exactly what information to provide.

    If I don't provide all of the necessary information it will ask me for what's missing. I also don't have to specify commands and can trigger things in a number of different ways, e.g.: -

    1. Email
    2. Send email
    3. Send an email
    4. I want to send an email
    5. I would like to send an email
    6. Email (contact)
    7. I want to email (contact)
    8. I would like to send an email to (contact)
    9. Send an email to (contact) for me

    Basically it usually "gets you" no matter how you specify the task you want to do. You can use short sweet commands if you want, but you don't have to remember exactly what to say.

    Also, if you have to string everything together in one line it can get complicated and there's a bigger margin for error.


    "Email (contact) work subject Hello there body How are you doing?"

    This works fine but if you were dictating a fairly long message, it would become annoying if it got the body right but misunderstood the contact, or subject or something and you had to start again.

    With Siri you can say "Email (contact) work subject Hello there" and it will then ask what you want to put in your email.

    Or if you want to speak more naturally, you can say "Email (contact) at work with the subject Hello there"

    It's just way more advanced.

    Only thing it's missing is offline support!
  14. spinedoc77 thread starter macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2009
    I've been playing with some of these alternatives and they all suck in some way or another. They all seem to use a huge amount of battery, and exponentially more battery when they are set in listen mode.

    Dragon mobile assistant: Uses battery even not in listen mode, when in listen mode forget about it. It's just ok, very good voice recognition but it's a bit bulky overall in function. In listen mode it also takes away microphone function from the phone so, for example, google search or keyboard microphone input don't work, very bad.

    Utter: VERY cool concept. Voice output is horrible, staticky and barely understandable, and very robotic sounding, like something out of War Games...Would you like to play a game?... It's VERY customizable, you can give it custom commands. It's wonky though, half the time it won't hear my commands, the listen mode eats up battery (so does non listen mode, but to lesser extent) and doesn't wake up most of the time. I will play with this one a bit more as it's fascinating and has some promise, it just isn't ready for prime time.

    I've played with google now/search a bit more as well. It has some very weird features, like if I say I want to text, it asks me if I want to edit the text, I have to touch the screen to say yes, then I have to hit the microphone input key, then the send key, etc. Very unstreamlined, just make it all automatic. Voice dialing is the same, the times when it doesn't do an internet search and actually pulls up my contact I have to hit the touchscreen to dial, Christ can you just dial the freakin number?
  15. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    As matttye specified, you don't need to do it all separately. The biggest advantage Siri has is the ability to complete the action after only the single touch to launch it. As accurate as Google's voice command functionality is, the need to touch the screen to confirm a request defeats the purpose of using it hands free in the first place.
  16. gotluck macrumors 603


    Dec 8, 2011
    East Central Florida
    I read reports that for some reason the MotoX doesn't require that extra touch - does anyone know if that is true?
  17. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 604

    Oct 27, 2009
    I disagree, S-voice has been good for me at hands free texting and calling. That's about it though, I don't use it for anything else. It's the only thing I used Siri for on the 4S too.
  18. spinedoc77 thread starter macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2009
    I've never used a more horrible program that I can remember than S voice. Although LG's Voice Mate is pretty close. I'm not sure why it functioned so badly for me, it just wasn't very intuitive, but I think I was just spoiled by how awesome Siri was. The voice recognition was also pretty bad.
  19. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    Dunno, but S Voice via my Gear and Note 3 have thus far worked flawlessly for voicing text and email messages.

    Just downloaded EasilyDo Personal Assistant. Not sure what it foes just yet.
  20. matttye macrumors 601

    Mar 25, 2009
    Lincoln, England
    S-voice is just a skinned Vlingo app, and both are horrible at voice recognition.

    IMO of course.
  21. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 604

    Oct 27, 2009
    Yea S voice was pretty horrible at detecting what you say. 50% of the time the wrong words would appear when texting. I've noticed a huge improvement since I picked up the S4. Rarely do I get mistakes in voice recognition now.
  22. jrswizzle macrumors 603


    Aug 23, 2012
    McKinney, TX
  23. spinedoc77 thread starter macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2009
  24. onthecouchagain macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011

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