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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Talking to Androids

A few days ago I talked about Apple's Siri and how other platforms have had such features for some time now including the iPhone. Today I would like to go over two of those options, one available on Android and the other on a multitude of systems. It is apparent that voice control of electronics is becoming a big deal in our society yet many of us have no clue about any of these options. On Android I have found two main contenders. Assistant and Vlingo. Both have their ups and downs but both also are wonderful services to try out and maybe keep.

Alright so lets start with Assistant. This application appears very simplistic, when opened up you have an avatar which can be completely customized (I chose the plain microphone) and then a text entry and voice entry area at the bottom. When you click on the avatar a voice input box comes up and allows you to speak to it. Once the commands are processed (You need an internet connection) a response is given. If a command is not recognized a couple error messages can occur. 6/10 my statements where correctly understood but if there was any background noise the rating dropped drastically. When I asked about the weather (Standard testing for this stuff) Assistant tried to find my location but failed every time. If I asked about the weather and added a location then I would get results read out to me. I asked about New York and a few other areas, each time was perfect. Next I decided to try and look up Notch (creator of Minecraft) which provided me a Wikipedia excerpt about how he created Minecraft and went on to found Mojang with the proceeds of the game. The software here is rather plain and not very pleasing to the eye but I found it to work wonderfully but only in areas with little to no background noise. I would give Assistant 8/10 stars if I chose. Do note that I will compare the two applications, Assistant and Vlingo, at the end of this post to give a better overview.

Vlingo is the exact opposite of Assistant in terms of looks. Vlingo is made to catch your eye and that it does. This was originally made for iOS so that kinda makes sense to. Use wise though is another story. Where Assistant offers a lot of commands such as weather Vlingo does not. Try to look up the weather and nothing will happen. This is a major issue throughout as a lot of key features like searching for say Notch will not work. A major good part for Vlingo is that voice recognition is much more accurate. I almost always got the right result however once again in louder areas accuracy will drop steeply.

Overall if you want accuracy and looks then Vlingo is for you however it is missing a lot of key commands which are included in Assistant. Both definitely have their downfalls but I recommend Assistant as the top winner. It has the most commands recognized and is the easiest to use naturally. What do you think about each of them? Leave your awesome creative and wonderful responses down below and as always have a great day!

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