Dragon Mobile Assistant by Nuance Communications Inc.
Free app for Android phones.
Android smartphone owners have a bad case of Siri envy. Ever since Apple Inc. introduced its speech-activated digital assistant to the iPhone, owners of Android phones have longed for something similar. They’ve been getting some decent substitutes too. Google Now, developed for newer Android devices is quite good. And Nuance Communications Inc. of Burlington is also pitching in, with a free app that needs work, but shows considerable promise.
Nuance is the leading maker of speech recognition software, so its Dragon Mobile Assistant is based on years of experience. It does a decent job of understanding what you’re asking. But it doesn’t always provide the most satisfactory answers. For instance, while Siri and Google Now can often answer questions aloud, Dragon Mobile Assistant just looks up its answers and displays them on screen.
On the other hand, Dragon has a cool feature that displays multiple online sources of information, and these sources change depending on the nature of the question. Ask it the deepest point in the Atlantic Ocean, and you’re directed to answers from Wikipedia, Google, and the statistical reference site WolframAlpha. Then again, you also get useless responses at sites like YouTube and Dictionary.com, so the app needs to be a little more selective.
Dragon Mobile Assistant also mimics one of Siri’s better features--the ability to launch other apps on the phone. Just say “start maps,” for instance, and up pops Google Maps.
None of the various speech-controlled assistants is completely satisfactory, but they keep getting better and more powerful. And with offerings like Dragon Mobile Assistant, Android phone users won’t be left behind.
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