Iris or Maluuba -- Which is a better assistant for Android users ?

2 Nov, 2012

Another SIRI alternative is in town. This new Android app,  Maluuba, comes from the Canadian company by the same name which launched this application in September and has now extended the service to India.

Maluuba has a perfect UI, very pleasing layout and recognises Indian accent in a pretty decent way. You can even type a command if you are not the talkative kinds but.. Yes, there is a but.  And by that, we mean your Android phone is not incomplete without it. It's more or less a search engine that you can talk to. So you can look up restaurants, movies, ask questions (We tried recipe for butter chicken and it instantly took us to a site that had some 15 variations of it!),  seek navigation help and sync your calendar to set alarms for meetings etc.

For most of the tasks it uses Google and completes the action of searching what you asked. One of its close competitor and a native app (also a clone of SIRI) is Iris which was developed by Dexetra Software Solutions, an Indian startup founded in April 2010 and funded by One97 Communications.

Iris is a very different app in terms of user interface from Maluuba. For a first you can't type in Iris. You have to talk to the app to complete the action and that is where it functions differently. It's not a listing app like Maluuba. It won't list out restaurants for you in your location or movies show timings.  If you say "Show me missed calls" it will immediately bring a list of missed calls for you, same with text messages or pictures or setting alarm. It will even open another app in the phone for you. But, the hitch with this one is more complicated. You have to talk to it all the time, but it has major problems with understanding Indian accent. Three out five times it does not understand our queries and you  may have to listen to some random joke that the voice was speaking as an answer to your queries.

All in all, if you already have an Android smartphone, wouldn't you rather go to Google yourself to search for something or have a Bookmyshow and Zomato app for movie timings and restaurant listings? There is absolutely no use for either of these apps on your phone until they start doing something extra like actually booking tables for restaurant or tickets for movies, or if they can get you new songs from the internet rather than playing the ones already in your phone's playlist.

Also, another good alternative available for the voice-based search is Google's Voice search app (which is also pre-installed in most Android phones). It's simple with one "Speak Now" window coming on to your screen and taking you to the web. It is most snappy and easy to use out of  the three.

If you still want to give it a shot, try both and decide since both are free apps. And do let us know your take on it.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)