Daily Archives: 11/23/2011
Not too long ago, Apple released the iPhone 4S. It was pretty underground. You’ve probably never heard of it.
I wrote an article about how wowed I was by its Siri technology. It looked really cool. I loved the idea of a device that reminded me of the computer from Star Trek. I just ask it a question and it gives me an answer. That’s cool! Boys, girls… Get fitted for your jumpsuits — It’s the future!
The only downside for me, at the time, was the fact that I was a Blackberry owner. I just got the phone, I’m on contract so upgrades would be really costly, no new iPhone for me right away. I love my 9800 Torch, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t have Siri. I couldn’t talk into it in my best Patrick Stewart impression and say, “Computer. Tell me the current temperature in Ottawa” and have it give me a response.
But then a wonderful thing happened!
Well, okay, maybe it wasn’t so wonderful if your phone didn’t work. If you were an Apple or Android person you probably enjoyed using your smartphone in the face of your Blackberry owning friends, but for those of us rockin’ out with RIM it was kind of annoying.
One of those free Blackberry apps is Vlingo, a personal assistant app like Siri. I had it on my phone for about a week before I started using it. I’ve been playing around with it for the last couple of days and I’ve made a few observations about these types of apps.
First: I have no idea what to ask this thing! The last two times I used it, I asked for the current temperature and then what the conversion from Fahrenheit to Celsius was for that temperature. I’ve also posted a couple of Facebook Status updates. Before that I asked for the current temperature.
But I’ve only done it in places where it’s quiet or if I’m outside and nobody’s around. For some reason I have this feeling that talking into my phone looks weird. That’s probably more of a problem with me, though.
Second: Mostly Vlingo just seems to direct me to Google, as if it’s my own personal LMGTFY app. I can already go to Google. I suppose I didn’t have to type it. That’s handy in the cold.
Aside from that, it’ll open my other apps fairly easily by just saying the name. It removes the need to touch the phone anywhere other than the activation button, which on the Blackberry is the convenience key. So now I don’t need to use my touch screen. The touch screen that was kind of the whole point of getting a Torch at the time.
It can also read my texts and e-mails to me, but I don’t drive, so I figure that’ll just annoy people on the bus. And I can speak the words I want to type into it, removing the keyboard, the other reason to get a Blackberry.
Basically, it makes your phone more hands-free. Or at least more fingers-free. You can use voice to do what you’d normal do through keystrokes and touchpad interaction. It’s kind of gimmicky, and I’m not sure I see myself changing all of my phone habits for this one app.
But then again… it is the future!