What's better than Apple's Siri? Android's Tap & Speak, that's what.

Siri is an interesting concept but for getting real work done, Tap & Speak beats it--hands down.
Written by Ken Hess, Contributor on


"Number one, dispose of this. I'll stick with my Android."

It might be old news to some of you but for me, since I'm still discovering Android's awesomeness, Vlingo's Tap & Speak is a Siri killer. I wish Vlingo would port Tap & Speak to the iPhone. I'd pay $4.99 for it. I might pay more. I'd pay something to have a productive App like that at my disposal. Tap & Speak has a very cool 'Driving Mode' which allows you to use your phone for calling and texting without having to wreck your car to do it. Hands down (pardon the pun), Tap & Speak is way better than Siri.

Watching my wife get frustrated enough with Siri to fling her new iPhone 4S across the room and yell, "Siri is useless!" is enough to make me realize that I don't need or want Siri. I have an iPhone 4, so I don't have a choice but even if I did, I wouldn't use it. I'm sure some people find it useful and helpful but I'm not one of them. Neither is my wife. Our 18-year-old son doesn't use Siri on his 4S either. I believe he colorfully compared Siri's usefulness to the operational nature of a vacuum cleaner.

I don't think Siri is necessarily bad but I do think it requires some training and practice but there are no help files nor is there a website that helps train users how to better use it. And, before you give me that whole, "Apple is intuitive" thing, let me say that Siri is not your typical intuitive Apple application nor is it intuitive.

Tap & Speak gives me examples and a step-by-step how-to on first use. I like that. I also like that I can tap or just say, "Hi Galaxy" to begin a new conversation. No, Tap & Speak isn't perfect but it's a level above Siri. I can actually be productive with Tap & Speak. Siri is cute but virtually useless for me--the few times I've used it, that is.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a big Apple device fan. In fact, if you've read this blog from the beginning, I didn't want an Android device. At all. It was thrust upon me. But, the longer I use it, the better I like it. It has some really cool features that I wish my iPhone 4 had. One is the ability to connect to the device's lower level self. With my Android phone, I can SSH to it from another computer or open a console to the OS from the device itself.

OK, not everyone needs to do that but I rather like having that feature. I don't want to even think of jailbreaking a device just to get some "should be included from the factory" features.

I'm especially excited by Vlingo's merger with Nuance. If you don't know, Nuance is the company that makes Dragon Naturally Speaking software, which is the best speech recognition software on the market. I foresee a truly intelligent conversational device control coming soon to just about everything near you.

With the blend of those two intelligent speech recognition software companies on the same team, I think we'll soon be able to actively navigate to addresses in our cars, make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messages and do all sorts of SciFi-type things using voice recognition. With superior voice recognition and communications plus Google Car type self-driving cars, even the visually impaired will be able to drive a car. These are exciting times.

You might find it somewhat of a stretch from making a phone call to driving a car but that's just the way my mind works. Too bad I don't get paid to come up with ideas and solutions for new products. I'd really like that gig. Heck, I came up with the idea of a self-driving car when I was a kid. I knew it could be done and I knew how to do it but convincing anyone to listen was the hard part. Now, with Siri and and Tap & Speak, I have a built-in audience for my ideas, my jokes and my disruptive dialog.

The best part is that, so far unlike their human counterparts, they just have to listen.

What do you think of Siri vs. Tap & Speak? Talk back and let me know which you think is superior.

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