Meet Siri’s not-so-evil twin: iRis

When Siri was announced alongside Apple’s iPhone 4S and iOS5 it sounded like something from the future.

But it wasn’t the just the useful voice-activated assistant role that Siri fills that was causing waves, no it was also that people quickly discovered that when you ask Siri a stupid question it gives you a “smart-ass” reply. I’ve seen a few videos and even websites dedicated to this feature. Including this one where the user asks Siri “What is the meaning of life”. Oddly enough I had tried a similar Android based application called Vlingo just days before asking the exact same question and it had literally given me a definition of the word “life”.

Well, if you thought you could only get a smart voice activated assistant by buying a new iPhone 4S, you may be surprised to learn there’s another one out there.

Introducing “iRis” – a free app available on Android. Yes, it’s name is the Siri spelt backwards. It was created as a reaction to the amazement of Siri by Dexetra and it’s claimed to have only taken 8 hours to develop. It’s still in Alpha which means you have to expect a few hiccups as it’s not always accurate with what it thinks it hears you say. It uses Google Voice Recognition service and like Siri, will use your phone functions like “call” “text” and “Google”.

I downloaded the application myself and decided to ask it some of those silly questions that are so popular on Siri-dedicated sites. I found myself struggling to think up a complex question to ask iRis and eventually I ended up saying, in a fit of frustration, “You are stupid” to which its response was “I am smarter than you”.

Yes, that definitely made me laugh. You can’t fault its entertainment value – I’m not entirely sure I would use it for the other purposes, but when I am bored I know I can guarantee a good laugh from iRis.

My only problem with it? Even when you say a statement, it’s response is “you asked” before repeating what you said. But aside from that, I was pretty impressed. And even in Alpha it isn’t half as bad as you would expect. It does at times struggle to understand my Kiwi accent, but again it shows – you don’t necessarily need an Apple to do use the “cool” apps.

The only requirement if you have an Android is that your OS must be 2.1 upwards (which most phones are anyway). It is free to download which is an extra benefit. If there was a “pro” version with more sophisticated accent recognition and didn’t come with too hefty a price tag, I might even be tempted to buy.

Editor in Chief at here SMNZ, I have a passion for social and digital media. When not writing and managing SMNZ I am the Head of Innovation at TAG The Agency, a digital ad agency and the Head of Sales and Marketing for End-Game, a software development agency. I'm also involved with a number of startups and I am always keen to support those that are bold enough to give things a go. Start something, better to try than to live wondering what if...

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