There’s been a lot of talk Siri since its arrival at Apple’s iPhone 4S launch. And with any good thing that proves to be a substantial advance, most find themselves asking when they can get one. But Android users aren’t very excited about Siri. What do they have to look forward to?
Android is currently developing something that may well prove to be the Siri of the Android phone and tablet market. It’s called Iris (which is an acronym for Intelligent Rival Imitator of Siri), and while it offers a lot of what Siri does, it may never actually get off the ground.
Iris was born out of an eight-hour hacking marathon out at dexetra.com, using a combination of the existing speech to text capability inside of a standard Android device and a little hacking prowess. Upon the completion of said marathon, they discovered that they had a system that was a lot like Siri, in that it would allow for searches by voice. One such search–“what is a fish?”–provided a Wikipedia article about fish, by way of example.
The app isn’t completely finished, of course (though it is available right now for free download, but in alpha mode), but just what we’ve heard so far about it poses an interesting question. Namely, is this going to be the Android equivalent of Siri? They’re still in development, and it’s a pretty rough app right now, but looking at it suggests that, with some development, in a matter of months, it may well prove to be at some point. It does the same basic things; sure, maybe Iris doesn’t have the same kind of attitude as Siri does (though you may think that Iris’ wit is every inch Siri’s match as evidenced by the pic below), but it will still look things up when you search. Considering, though, the recent history between Apple and Android (especially as represented by Samsung), it really doesn’t bode well for Iris’ continued survival.
Obviously, this is going to be an issue of survival; if Iris can outlast or otherwise elude an Apple legal assault, it may well become the Android equivalent of Siri. And this is going to you, the small business owner, a whole extra layer of choices when it comes to figuring out what you want in terms of mobile computing. Because as we established not too long ago, Siri is going to be a very big part of Apple’s offerings. If Iris can compete with Siri, Apple loses a bit of distinctiveness and Android tablets become just a little more viable.