Siri, the Apple iPhone 4S’s self-admitted “humble personal assistant,” is receiving enthusiastic early reviews. Per The New York Times’ David Pogue, Siri is a “crisply accurate, astonishingly understanding, uncomplaining, voice-commanded minion,” while the Wall Street Journal’s Walter Mossberg calls Siri the 4S’s “standout feature.”
But Android users should take heart. Siri isn’t their only mobile hope for discovering whether they need an umbrella or have an appointment at noon — and neither do they have to wait until the 4S goes on sale this Friday. For them, there’s the Speaktoit Assistant.
So, it’s not as sleek a name as Siri, but neither is it just a faceless female voice — Speaktoit users can choose an avatar as their sidekick, from a sort of punky brunette to a brainy blonde or all-knowing professor type.
Like Siri, Speaktoit is still in beta and it learns as it’s used, making it more helpful with time. It can send emails and texts, post updates to Twitter or Facebook, call people, translate, add items to a user’s calendar, find places to eat and more.
Also like with Siri, users can speak in a natural way. (Though that’s not what I would say the guy in this explanatory video is doing. Plus, if Siri is cheeky enough to answer questions about the meaning of life, hopefully the Speaktoit avatars will soon learn to roll their eyes when someone tells them, “I’m bored.”)
Following Siri’s introduction, Android users have reportedly been flocking to the Speaktoit Assistant.
“In the past week, Speaktoit downloads have vaulted into the tens of thousands,” said Kyle Peterson, a spokesperson for the app, “growing 400% in seven days and adding 3,000 users a day based (so far) only on word of mouth and rave reviews on the Android Market.”
Peterson added that versions for iOS and BlackBerry are coming soon. No doubt, a whole lot more voices are about to join the conversation.