Although many people are using Ask Ziggy on Windows Phone these days, the search for a viable alternative to the iPhone’s Siri continues. While we’re unsure of what Microsoft has planned in this arena for Windows Phone 8, WP7 users certainly want options.
A new alternative is on the Marketplace now called simply enough ‘Assistant’. It’s made by Speak To It and while it normally costs $0.99 it’s going for free now for the first 10,000 downloads.
It uses the same Nuance voice engine as Ask Ziggy, so in that regards it’s not necessarily any better nor worse. But the UI design and layout are quite nice. You get a custom Avatar to interact with and a choice of 4 different voices (UK and US English). The app can learn your name and you can name it too (we called ours Siri of course).
The app has some bugs and on the first time loading, it tends to hang (just hit the Windows key and re-launch). Over just Wi-Fi it didn’t work—at least not on our Titan II though it performed well on our Lumia 900. Since it uses Nuance, it is hit or miss with accuracy but we do like the options including the ability to Tweet or update our Facebook. It can even create notes and then upload them to EverNote which is quite useful. Assistant heavily relies on Google instead of Bing which some may find off-putting.
Would we pay for it? Probably not. But for free there’s little reason to not get it if it’s something you think you would use. See our video review to see how it works.
You can pick Assistant up here in the Windows Phone Marketplace for $0 while you can. Thanks, Barry W., for the heads up
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.