iPhone's Siri was originally headed to Verizon Android phones

From a Huffington Post feature on the origins of Apple's 'Siri' comes the revelation that the famed voice assistant almost became a poster child for Verizon's line of Android phones. In late 2009, Siri's founders reportedly signed a deal with the carrier that was to bring Siri to its Android phones launching in the new year. HuffPo reports that Verizon even went as far as filming commercials highlighting this unique add-on of Android phones on Big Red -- likely featuring early hero devices like the original Droid.

As we all know, the deal was not to be, and following its acquisition by Apple, Siri re-emerged in October 2011 as an exclusive feature of the then-new iPhone 4S. By that stage, Google would've been well on its way towards bringing its own  voice assistant to life through the Jelly Bean Google Search app and Google Now.

In any case, today's news underscores how differently things might've turned out had the Verizon/Siri deal borne fruit.

Source: Huffington Post; via: The Verge

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  • uh oh! verizon is about to get sued by apple!
  • I guess we dodge that bullet....cuz we all know how well Siri works. =)
  • Actually Steve Wozniack (apple co-founder) said that Siri was a lot better before Apple got their hands on it. He says Apple basically crippled it.
  • Ill take Google now as a whole over Siri any day.
  • "how differently things might've turned out had the Verizon/Siri deal borne fruit." The only difference I would see, is Android would have been the laughing stock, not iOS. Really Siri is crap compared to Google Voice Actions.
  • Siri is crap compared to Google voice actions from 2009 on the OG Droid. Seriously, I use both and Siri isn't in the same league Google Now.
  • I find it the opposite. I use both daily and I find that Siri is much better at handling things like booking appointments, setting reminders/alarms/timers etc. sending and reading out emails/messages....However I love Google Now for it's speed at searching for information and providing location based info when and where I need it. A combination of the two would be perfect!
  • Just another thing apple stole from android
  • Difference would have been that VZW would have charged $5 a month to use the feature, something we take granted for free now.
  • ha, no doubt it would have been a monthly added fee! With masny tries Siri could not locate a steakhouse less than one mile away, but suggested many others over 15-20 miles away. Google now nailed it on the first try.
  • Haha ain't that the truth
  • Probably a good thing. Carriers getting involved in apps and software is a bad thing. Just give me the data.
  • Proof that Apple's real superpower is deep pockets that allow them to buy innovative ideas from everyone else (or steal them, if they can get away with it.)
  • They would have made the perfect companion together. Crappy useless Siri and crappy useless Verizon a perfect match. To bad that didn't happen.
  • I love Google now.... Not only does it let me know I have a doctors appointment of but let's me know I need to leave at a certain time according to the traffic to make it on time.
  • If Verizon had it, we will all remove it and call it bloat anyway.
  • Google Voice Actions would be so much better with Siri functionality. The natural language interaction is just not there. And you can't do actions like reminders, moving calendar appointments, etc. Siri is a personal assistant. Google Voice Actions is just that: voice commands. Bringing Google Now into the discussion is pointless. It's a great piece of software. I love it. But it doesn't do what Siri does. Different functionality.
  • Because it has a name and talks back more? That is a shiny aspect of Siri, but I'd hardly call it a different functionality.
  • Of course it doesn't do what Siri does. Siri is designed to be a friend to those who probably don't have many friends. Voice Actions and Google Now is designed to be a tool for people who need actual assistance and legitimate help with real world things. I've played with Siri often, and it's fun because of the flirty voice. But whenever I see my coworkers, in-laws, or friends try to get directions to anything, or ask it to search for something, it ALWAYS fails. And bringing Google Now into the conversation ISN'T pointless, because it is a comparable piece of software. Just because it doesn't do all of the gimmicky things that Siri does, doesn't mean it's not worth the comparison. Both are designed to act as an information center/personal assistant. Google Now is like having a personal assistant that just does their job and knows what information you need when you need it. Siri is the personal assistant who needs all sorts of directions and personal, pointless diatribe before she will get anything done.
  • +1 Nailed it my friend. A true assistant knows and provides you information before you ask for it.
  • Well said Sir!
    Could not have said it any better than that.
  • Nailed it.
    Does Siri automatically give you tracking information on packages? Google Now does.
    Does Siri give you local restaurant and attraction suggestions without having to ask for it? Google Now does.
    Does Siri remind you hen you should leave for an appointment in your calendar based on local traffic and routes? Google Now does.
    Does Siri track your flights and give you a heads up if one is running late or early (such as when my sister-in-law-to-be flew out to visit me and her flight was 45 minutes ahead of schedule)? Google Now does.
    Does Siri give you relevant news headlines based on your search history? Google Now does. Siri does a lot of things well. When you ask for it. Google Now anticipates your needs and has the information ready for you before you even think to ask for it.
    Perhaps the previous poster had a point, bringing Google Now into the conversation may be pointless... Siri simply isn't in the same class as Google Now. Perhaps Apple should spend less time tryign to add 'personality' and jokes into Siri and try making it actually do more instead. Or put the time into making their Maps not suck.
  • The only thing Google now has ever tracked for me is Amazon packages.
  • I agree, I use both daily and they each have their strengths and weaknesses. I use Siri for getting things done and Now for providing me with location based info. A combination of the two would be great.
  • +2 absolutely well put
  • I have used Maluuba for over 6 months and like it better then siri on my daughters iPhone so I feel no remorse.
  • I still can't really hands-free text with Google Now or Voice Actions or however I'm supposed to do it. My wife uses Siri to completely initiate a text message, dictate the content, and confirm sending it. I've tried texting with Google Now....if it even catches the right phrase to unlock the magic that catches who I'm sending something to and catches the text, I still have to physically hit the send button. And the dictation from Google Now for text messages never seems to catch punctuation the way it does when I dictate elsewhere in the system. I do think Siri handles much better the back-and-forth prompting for *doing* things.