Everyone’s been buzzing about how the iPhone 4S took one giant step up from the rest by tagging Siri into the ring. If you’ve been living under a rock, Siri is the iPhone 4S’s virtual assistant. Ask her a question, just like how you would ask a friend, and she’ll give you an answer.
Imagine you’re driving and you need to keep your eyes on the road but need to send a message ASAP. Tell Siri to send a message to your spouse, without having to touch the screen. Siri isn’t just for asking questions and ordering around; she’s got a sense of humor, too. It’s no wonder why people are going nuts over the iPhone 4S.
Naturally, Android developers got right on the job of making a Siri equivalent just for Android devices. A number of other Siri contenders have popped up in the past, such as Vlingo (which has been around for quite some time), Iris (in case you haven’t noticed, it’s Siri in reverse) and Speaktoit Assistant, so this time it’s Mira’s turn.
An intelligent and semantic Siri for Android, Mira uses Google voice recognition and works using an offline database saved on your phone. It’s one of Mira’s distinct features that sets it apart from Siri. The latter needs to relay your questions and commands first to a web server. Not bad for the user who stays online all the time, but Mira’s offline database gives Mira another advantage over Siri. It allows Mira to analyze sentences faster, as well.
Mira is also equipped with an “intelligent algorithm”, which allows her to break up your sentences into parts. If you’re asking about the weather in Washington D.C., Mira will break down your question so that she can gather information on Washington D.C.’s weather, but not Washington D.C.’s location.
Of course, Mira does a lot of the things Siri can. Teach Mira your name and she’ll use it during interactions. If you’d like to know the time, the weather, and maybe even your location information, simply ask Mira.
She’ll even send an SMS for you if you ask her to. If you’re feeling particularly lazy, or you’d simply like to interact more with your phone past tapping and swiping on the screen, Mira’s more than happy to step up as your virtual assistant.
At the time of this writing, Mira is definitely still in development and is still limited by what it can do. The offline database stored on the device is also still rather small and has a lot more to be added.
Don’t expect Mira to sound like another human being right off the bat; Mira’s “voice” is still rather choppy, but we’ve got our fingers crossed that it will become more natural-flowing in the future.
Mira is not yet available for download from the Android Market, but ff you like to try Mira out for yourself, you can download and install the APK file provided by the developer.