App review: Speaktoit Assistant

Got an Android smartphone but missing Siri? Siobhan Keogh looks at a personal assistant app for business users

If you have an Android device but you’d really like to use a personal assistant like iOS’s Siri, look no further than Speaktoit's Assistant app. It works in almost exactly the same way that Siri does - you press a button and talk to it in a natural way, and it responds to you. It’s designed to be more for business users than for personal use, but it works for both.

When you first boot up Assistant, you’ll go through a brief setup process wherein you name your office assistant and give her your name (you can change 'her' to a 'he' if you upgrade to premium). After that, you can ask her loads of questions to help organise your life - she can send text messages, call people, set up appointments, search for restaurants in your area, and so on.

If you sign in with Google, Assistant integrates with Google Calendar and Gmail, and uses Google Maps and Search. That’s definitely a good thing - although, of course, you’re handing Google even more of your personal information.

Unfortunately, there’s only one ‘English’ setting, and it’s based on American English. While my assistant understood most of what I said in my thick Kiwi accent, she misunderstood enough of it to make using the app annoying at times. Each time I tried to schedule a meeting, I’d have to repeat the same words several times in a variety of different ways before it’d get popped into my Google Calendar correctly.

Sending text messages and making calls worked, but saying ‘Harley’ frequently resulted in Assistant searching for ‘Holly’.

You can see how this would cause problems if you had a partner called ‘Moe’ and went to send a text message to ‘Mum’.

Assistant has potential, especially when upgraded to the Premium version.

You can teach your assistant to understand your strange phrasings, yell at your phone to get Assistant to boot up, and pin lock the app so no one else can use it. It’s too bad the app won’t understand you unless you have an American accent.

3 stars

Platform: Android

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