Android Central

Today Nuance kicked off the beta for a new app called Dragon Mobile Assistant. It lets users talk to their phones in a natural human voice for a variety of tasks, including booking calendar appointments, dictating messages, updating Facebook and Twitter, getting GPS directions, finding businesses, and checking the weather. It even has an S-voice style audio wake-up command so you don't have to press a button to initiate a query. Sure, Personal Assistant has a lot in common with Dragon Go, but this is packaged in a way to more directly offer an Android version of Siri. 

Nuance is in a good spot for launching a voice activated personal assistant given its pedigree (especially now that they've acquired Vlingo), but it's hardly the only show in town. A small start-up called Maluuba has a very sharp-looking app that focuses on specific silos of content. Of course Samsung's S-voice is an option on pretty much all of their newer phones, plus the latest version of voice search built into Jelly Bean can handle a lot. There's Evi, though it wasn't particularly great the last time we used it.

Dragon Personal Assistant is free, but it's only available in English in the U.S. for devices running Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0. They're expecting to launch more broadly before the end of the year, at least. Which voice-activated personal assistant do you use on Android? Are there any that are fast enough to be more practical than just typing in a query or manually navigating to something on your device? How do you think these options stack up against what's available on iOS?

Source: Nuance


Reader comments

Nuance launches Siri-esque Dragon Mobile Assistant


Incompatible with my Thunderbolt! Still stuck on Gingerbread and can't even try out this app. Feels like I'm still using Windows 3.5. Come on Verizon, release the Note II already!

Not really. I thoroughly enjoyed mine... though I was very proactive in the update/root/ROM department, so I know I solved or didn't experience many of the "issues" people had.

I'm from South Yorkshire in England which means I have a slight accent nothing that strong though just a slight regional difference. I have yet to find any of these services that can correctly understand what I am saying. Its really frustrating as I would love to use such a service whilst driving and things but they simply dont work for me. Which I can only assume is a big issue for people with much stronger accents all around the world.

I have used it a little ended up shutting it off to increase battery but I will give it another shot, does it learn through extended use? As for the poster who says try siri well I have and I'll be honest it was the most accurate so far but not perfect, thing is I dont want to switch to an iPhone just for siri. I would like to use a service like this but not every minute of every day so the trade-off to give up on Android (which I love) isnt worth it. Also these services apparently use the same backend as siri so the quality/accuracy should be achievable without me having to give up my android phone.

Definitely potential in this one. I will take it for a test run. I am a fan of Google Now and I use it all the time. I'm anxious to see how this one compares. I didn't like Dragon Go very much.

Nuance website says app works with devices running ICS and above so it should work with my Galaxy Note 2 once I get it from Sprint.

i don't feel like downloading 27MB to try it.

i'll stick with Google Now for now. (no pun intended).

It's mainly for those ICS users who don't have JB just yet. I've used Skyvi and Iris so far as substitutions but none of them can branch out into full app permissions like Nuance is claiming.


I get an error for Nuance app: This app is incompatible with your Telus Samsung SGH-I747M.

AVX and EVA (same app, 2 different UIs) are far superior to all other voice control apps for Android. Not only can you update FB & Twitter but can also have AVX read your feeds to you. Not only can you text hands free including correcting wrongfully understood lines hands free, but you can also do so with Google Voice. It also supports full Tasker integration including the passing of variables into Tasker all with your voice. AVX also has integrated NFC and a thousand other amazing features... Too much to list them all. Look it up on YouTube. My dream would be for Google to buy AVX and integrate it natively into Android! That would put Android lightyears ahead of Siri.

It only compares to Siri in that it totally sucks compared to what I already have on my phone.

I tried a few of these on for size, all of which work flawlessly in Google Search on my phone...none of them worked in Dragon as expected.

"Play Eric Clapton music"
"What is 35 times 482"
"Who is the president of the United States"
"Who are the US Senators from New York?"
"Set alarm for 11:30"

Even for things that it DOES have, it is lacking
"What is the weather going to be like?" doesn't respond vocally with the weather.

"Navigate [place]" doesn't actually start navigating, it places you in the map program and fills in the name of the place you want to navigate to. This is a huge minus if you're using it while driving. (I use my bluetooth headset and Google to navigate all. the. time. without taking my hands off the wheel nor my eyes off the road).

I tried to get "Jets scores" and it inexplicably came up with Radio and music video choices. I guess maybe this only works if your a Patriots fan? Of course, with Google Now, it doesn't matter since I get those scores anyway before I ask for it.

The one place it does better is calendar appointments, which for some unearthly reason Google doesn't do. I also like that it reads texts aloud and has a (battery sucking) listen mode. But I expect better for something the size and breadth of Dragon Go. Sorry, Dragon, but it's not something I'll use everyday.

If you absolutely need a supplemental voice assistant to Google Voice Search/Google Now, Maluuba is a better choice all around.

Remover it is only in beta. There will be some enhancements coming all the time and for people not running jelly bean yet, this is a good solution for some everyday tasks.

The Google search microphone thingie does all that I care to do by voice, calling, texting, quick web searches, and maps.

I might try this out, but quite frankly, at 26meg just for the dowbload, I don't see me keeping another browser sized app for what little utility this might add.

Especially when there is so much duchebaggery associated with being seen using anything Siri-like in public. Even iPhone users avoid it in public.

using Nova Launcher i put a Microphone Icon in my Dock for quick and easy access to Voice Commands/Search -

Phone Icon - App Drawer Icon - Microphone Icon

it's made by Nuance, which made SIRI and Nuance owns Vlingo. So AT BEST this will only ever be as good as Siri + Vlingo, which means it's a novelty toy with some semi- useful driving options. I'll just stick with Vlingo, my Maxx HD should (hopefully) have Jelly bean & Google Now by end of the year anyway

While I do like the idea of a virtual assistant I have yet to get any to work fast enough and reliably enough to use as a daily program.

Hey Simon... lets stop giving our enemies more fuel for the fire... its not Siri-esqu... cause actually, VLINGO (which was just bought by nuance) had the whole wake up command thing WAY before i saw a siri anything! ;) cheers

I want it to work on my Verizon S3 but all it does is say, sorry. Try again later. It appears to be having trouble talking to their servers at the moment. Maybe this article cause enough interest to kill their servers. :(

I use vlingo, well I would if it worked over bluetooth. It works absolutely fantastically sat in the house (even with my dodgy Yorkshire accent) but I want to use it in the car when I am attached to bluetooth and unfortunately under those conditions it is pretty damn awful :-(

Yeah, I really don't understand how so many options are available like this but none of them hear audio over my bluetooth headset (last I checked). I would think this would be a standard feature by now. I'm new to Android so does anyone know this?

I found only one app (plus the old Android voice search, not Google now) that does this!

Well, I have used iris. and Vlingo for awhile on both my old Droid Incredible and my current Galaxy S III, and although they work (for the most part), they are far from perfect. And don't get me started on S Voice. Seemingly the only thing S Voice gets right is the weather. But the one I have been using the most is an app called Robin. It seems to learn your tendencies and actually gets you commands right more often then not. The cool thing about Robin is the option to download a male companion voice that accompanies Robin in reading news articles to you like a radio newscast. Try it.

I just asked Dragon to get me a beer. Rather than going to the fridge it opened Yelp and showed me the nearest pubs. Baby steps I suppose.

Nice hahaha.

I downloaded this and will try it out for a bit. I ended up removing Dragon Go a long time ago. I'm pretty happy with the functions of Google Now but I'm hoping this can add something useful to the mix.

By the way it's an extra 200MB download if you want a better sounding voice.

Yeah,I went ahead and got the nicer voice. Figure I might as well go all out if I want to truly test this thing. If it falls on its face then I'll just delete it and wait for JB.

I've been using Google Now for quite a while and Dragon is no comparison. At best it would be a competitor for the old Google Voice Search. All it does is bring up web search results. I actually see no reason for it to have a "voice" at all. It just tells me what it is doing as it opens a Google search results page. Maybe as it leaves beta it will be worth taking another look but it's not ready for prime time yet.

Not available in Canada? Tried the link, says not available in my country.

Edit: Should have read the article. Clearly says US only.