Siri Alternatives: 4 options for us iphone users who don’t want to shell out for the 4s

Siri is an incredible new feature- for those of us who have the iphone 4S and above that is. Those of us with lesser iOS devices seem to be stuck assistantless- or are we? Here are several alternatives to Siri

Dragon Go
Vlingo
    1. Dragon Go (Free)- This offering from Nuance Comm. is very impressive. In some areas of search I find it superior to Siri. Go uses voice search to identify what you want to find and searches Wikipedia, Netflix, Pandora, Yelp, Opentable, itunes, Twitter, Youtube, and other sites besides Google. It uses intelligent software to show you services in order of relevance, and the search is very accurate. Unfortunately the voice isn’t interactive like Siri and it lacks any social features such as posting. The app is well put together but seriously struggles without social features and interaction.
    2. Dragon Dictation (Free)- Also made by nuance this app is very disappointing. This app fills in the social hole that Go leaves. Unfortunately this app requires a lot more button pushing than other apps and less functionality. The only nice feature is the accurate transcription which learns as you correct it. After a few taps you can text, email, facebook, or Twitter your message. This app does its job reasonably but fails to impress.  If you need accurate dictation though then this is a solid app.
    3. Vlingo (Free)- This app is the rival and opposite of the Dragon apps. The full services used to cost $12 but it is now 100% free! Vlingo is very strong on social features. You can text, email, tweet, and facebook using only your voice. The app is very full featured and offers a nice auto-send feature which after 5 seconds of inactivity and warning will send your message without you having to press a button. The weakness of this app is that the only search feature it offers is standard google. If they strengthen this they would make a great app but this is still a very solid offering.
Voice Actions
  1. Voice Actions ($5)- If you want Siri then this is the closest thing you will find- but it comes at a cost. Until Siri came out this app was selling for $7. Now it is only $5 but it is still a little expensive. So what does voice actions do? It can do math, translations, searches and fact-finding, restaurant finding, alerts, timers, texts, emails, and it can even chat. It has quite a few impressive features. The translations are nearly instant and very accurate. The math is cool. It even has witty answers, and it interacts like Siri. Be warned though that the microphone picks up everything which can destroy searches and it often gets confused. A new release which patches it up and makes it more solid is supposedly on the way but for now while it is very full featured it lacks the accuracy of the other apps included in this report.
To Conclude: The Dragon Apps and Vlingo are all great free ways to replace Siri and Voice Actions has an incredible amount of potential too but in order for them to really impress they all need slight redesigns to include missing features and clean up their interfaces. None of them will beat Siri but if you are waiting for the iphone 5 then they will help you pass the time. Enjoy you i-devices and please leave a question below about any of these apps and I would be glad to answer it or leave your opinion on one below.
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Michael Sitver

Michael Sitver is a technology insider who has been blogging about technology since 2011. Along the way, he's interviewed founders of innovative startups, and executives from fortune 500 companies, and he's tried dozens or hundreds of gadgets. Michael has also contributed to works featured in Newsday, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the associated press. Michael also occasionally consults, and writes for Seeking Alpha and Yahoo News.

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