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Goodbye Siri, hello Skyvi

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For all of you living sans Siri, you are no longer alone. I recently found an app on the Android Market called Skyvi, and I have to say, it really isn’t too shabby. Though it has one of the worst names I’ve ever heard, (I mean, seriously, Skyvi?) the app allows you to perform all of the basic commands that Siri does, give or take a few. You can ask it where to find a good burger, ask it the meaning of life, (which is 42, by the way) and any other question your heart desires while you sit alone in the dark, completely ignoring the fact that you’re actually talking to yourself.

Response speed is alright at times, but it is ultimately one of the greatest drawbacks of this app. After you say something, Skyvi has to stop and tell you that it’s detecting your voice, giving you an annoying little loading circle that mocks you with its every spin. I once said hello to Skyvi and I watched that circle turn for a good three minutes before I finally closed the application by force.

Now the loading screen does bother me quite a bit, but that isn’t my greatest criticism of Skyvi. The voice recognition is iffy at best. Skyvi would often mess up simple words even after I repeated them several times, making my pronunciation as clear as possible each time. Either the voice recognition is only okay, or I just can’t pronounce simple words. I’d go with the former, but if someone thinks they can prove the latter true, I encourage them to try.

After Skyvi correctly identifies what you said, it responds with a perfectly sensible answer… hopefully. I’ve gotten some rather silly responses, and a few that were completely off base. For instance, I’d say something like “I had a bad day” and Skyvi would respond “What happened to it?”

What is she trying to say? What happened to the day? Well, Skyvi, I’m afraid I have absolutely no idea how to answer that question, but, despite my lack of success in small talk, I managed to find the app extremely useful. I asked it to give me directions to McDonald’s and it worked flawlessly. I also used the “beacon” tool, which tells you when you are approaching a certain location.

I also enjoyed the fact that Skyvi allowed to me to connect with Facebook, allowing me to update statuses and post on friends’ walls using only my voice. The only thing I was truly disappointed by was the inability to send messages through Skyvi, which would have been an awesome feature, and one that would really make this app a must have.

For now, it merely remains a curiosity, but if most of its minor problems were fixed, it would have the potential to be amazing. From what I hear from the developers, they are working hard to match the power of Siri and maybe even surpass it. While these are certainly high hopes, I really think they can do it. I’ve received updates from the app at least once a week so far, and the interface has already been changed several times. You can really tell that the creators have continued to put a lot of time and energy into this app, and I commend their efforts.

After all of the flaws, I still say give the thing a try. It works great and, though it doesn’t share Siri’s sense of humor, it’s still a very useful utility. I think Skyvi is on its way to becoming really great, and you can expect it to become a must-have for those on the Android Market in the near future.

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Goodbye Siri, hello Skyvi