In our article on why we think smartphones are still dumb, we talk about a wish that our smartphones could become more like real assistants, learning what makes us tick, anticipating our needs and offering solutions to problems. It may be a while before we get to that point but in the meantime there are some interesting PVA (personal virtual assistant) apps that look friendlier and possibly more helpful than even current search engines.
Siri May Show Up in iOS
In 2010 Apple acquired a company named Siri that offered a natural language-based assistance service. You can tell Siri you want to eat Japanese food with your two friends and it will take over and help make the arrangements. One question being asked about iOS 5 is will any of Siri’s technology make it into the new OS?
Total or Partial Recall? reQall uses technology that was developed at the MIT Media Lab and provides the services of a personal assistant like helping you manage appointments, providing reminders, and organizing personal information. Their latest version is called reQall Rover and is currently in private beta.
Can You Dig The Vlingo? Vlingo calls their app a virtual assistant that uses voice-to-text technology. Speak a command like "call a tow truck," or "order a pizza" and Vlingo will take it from there.
Says Who? Zazu provides some basic information that you might find useful especially when you’re just starting out your day like weather, news, appointments, etc. It’s not the ultimate personal virtual assistant but it does what it claims to do and provides some basic info.