Seller: KulTek, LLC
Compatibility: Universal iOS app, compatible with iPod touch (2nd generation – 4th generation), iPhone, and iPad
Requirements: iOS 4.1 or later
File Size: 78.9 MB
Age Rating: 4+
I will be honest and say Siri brought me very close to blowing a lot of money on an iPhone 4S upon its release just because of how amazing the feature seemed when Apple first introduced it. But I didn’t have the chance to actually try it for myself. Once I did, my opinion of it changed slightly, and I realized that even with Siri and the other improvements the iPhone 4S brought, it was not worth paying the full non-subsidized price. Siri did and still does have its flaws, and is even still technically in “beta” at this point, which is one of the main reasons I’m almost certainly going to wait for the release of the next-generation iPhone, which I anticipate will be a much bigger step forward for Apple’s beloved smartphone.
Still, many people are caught up in Siri and how it has revolutionized the future of voice recognition technology without realizing there are many alternatives out there that are just as good, and in some cases even arguably superior. One such opponents I’ve had the pleasure of using on my iPad (an iDevice that does not (currently) support Siri) is vokul by KulTek.
vokul is mainly intended for hands-free calling, text messaging, and controlling media, all with a user’s voice just like Siri. Unlike Siri, though, vokul is truly hands-free, as issuing voice commands does not require users to touch the screen as Siri does. Instead, users can activate vokul’s voice recognition by saying “hey vokul” followed by their specific command—such as “call Peter” or “play next track” for example (see the following video for more examples of commands that vokul is able to recognize)— once vokul responds back with a beep. This can be a significant advantage for users who need such functionality while driving, as having to navigate through the iPhone’s screen could be a distraction that leads to an accident.
Another cool feature within vokul is its ability to recognize voice commands through heavy background noise or with music playing, and its incredible accuracy while doing so. Even though I’ve had to speak quite loudly for vokul to recognize my voice, likely due to the first generation iPad’s poor-quality microphone, vokul was able to accurately understand what I was saying even while music was blasting as I issued my commands.
Just like with Siri, though, vokul doesn’t handle foreign languages too well, so keep that in mind.
Overall, I will say vokul stands up well against Siri in the features it has. Although missing some key things for which Siri is known, such as its “attitude,” vokul still puts up one hell of a fight, and can only continue to improve in the future. The developers have noted that support for Bluetooth connectivity will be added in an update, although that appears to be the only future plan they’ve knowledge for now.
If you have an iDevice that does not support Siri or you would like to see how vokul matches up with it on your iPhone 4S, I recommend that you try it. The price tag is far from ridiculous at only $2.99. Whether for use while driving or any other purposes, if hands-free voice activated texting, calling, media control, and more sounds like something you could use, vokul is there for you.