The voice assistants that we’ve been using on our smartphones for years are finally becoming indispensably useful — and reliably fun. Smartphone reviewers and tech columnists have long debated which voice assistant is the smartest. Is it Siri? Or Alexa? How about Google Assistant or Google Now? Or even Cortana? Each one has a unique set of features and functionality. And each handles integrations with third-party apps differently.
But if you’re switching from iOS to Android, you’ve probably wondered about your options. Is there a voice assistant that functions as a great alternative to Siri? And would a voice assistant for Android match Siri’s functionality and wit? After all, everybody enjoys asking questions of Siri. Unfortunately, there’s currently no official Siri app for Android. So if you simply must use the beloved Apple app, Android won’t be the right operating system for you.
But even for those who love Siri, Android can still be a great OS. Not least because you can find the perfect voice assistant for it. In fact, we’re betting that you’ll find one you like so much that you’ll stop wishing Apple would release Siri for Android. (Since we all know that making Siri Android-ready isn’t a big priority in Cupertino, California.)
Every voice assistant for Android — and assistants that are released on iOS or for Windows, for that matter — can help you accomplish tasks and find information quickly. They can also give you some much-needed entertainment when you’re bored or feeling down. We may not be able to tell you how to get Siri on an Android phone, but we can help you find the best Android assistant. Read on to check out our favorite alternatives to Siri for Android.
1. Google Assistant
Let’s start with Google’s own Android assistant apps. Google Assistant is the ultimate answer for anyone looking for a close substitute to Siri for Android. You can ask Google Assistant numerous questions, and its responses to those questions illustrate exactly how different this software is from Google’s other voice assistant, Google Now.
Unlike the latter, Google Assistant responds in a conversational format. That’s true whether you’re making a serious inquiry or making a joke. And its advanced artificial intelligence means that if any Android assistant has earned the moniker of “Siri for Android,” it’s this one. (Though, we’ll admit, it’s a bit of a bummer that Google Assistant is, so far, available only on the Google Pixel and in the Google Allo messaging app, which you can download directly from the Google Play Store.)
2. Google Now
If you’re not the owner of a Google Pixel, then you don’t have Google Assistant directly integrated into your phone. The good news is that Google has built another assistant for Android smartphones: Google Now. Although Google Now may not be the most faithful analogue to Siri for Android, it’s still a pretty great assistant if you don’t mind its lack of personality. Google Now attempts to surface information you need before you ask for it. It does that by capitalizing on the information Google has about you.
For instance, Google Now gives you information based on the searches you’ve made, the messages that go through your inbox, and the videos that you’ve watched. It can also tell you how much traffic you can anticipate on your commute, and when you should leave for the airport in order to make your flight. For those reasons alone, we’re pretty sure Android users will likely find it to be a useful alternative to Siri.
3. AIVC (Alice)
Ready to move beyond Google’s options for a new Android assistant? Let’s get acquainted with AIVC, also known as Alice. The developer offers a free version and a pro version of this Android assistant. Alice can help you with calls, text messages, and emails. She can also assist you with translations, navigation, alarms, and timers. And if that weren’t enough, she can launch apps, make calculations, handle Facebook updates, do web searches, check the weather, and search images.
But unlike Siri (or any Siri-esque Android app that Apple might release in an alternate universe), AIVC is pretty customizable. You can define your own commands with Alice. And you can use the customization to control devices that are accessible via a web interface. Alice is continually learning new skills (like any good Android assistant), quickly becoming capable of a variety of tasks, both fun and functional.
ANDY is another great Siri-esque app for Android that’s sure to impress you. The developer offers a free version and a pro version of this voice assistant for Android, which can send text messages, make phone calls, and give you directions. And according to the Google Play Store description, this version of Siri for Android can “answer pretty much any question you throw at him.” Want to test that claim? (So do we!) ANDY’s knowledge reportedly covers most of the information found on Wikipedia. But it doesn’t stop there. You can also ask about the weather and time, get answers to algebra questions, or ask him to do unit conversions.
ANDY is also designed to be “smart enough to answer questions even if English is not your first language.” That’s actually a pretty unique attribute among the many voice assistants vying for the title of Siri for Android. To ask a question or to give a command, you just need to tap the microphone button on the app’s home screen. Or you can enable the “Shake Recording” option, so that when you shake your device, it will activate the Android assistant. Don’t like either of those choices? There’s always the old-fashioned way: typing your question to get an answer. ANDY will recognize your voice, parse your question, and search for the best answer. Then, the Android assistant will read it back to you, and display it on your screen with additional details.
Prefer an Android assistant from a big tech company other than Google? Then consider Cortana. You may think that Cortana is only accessible on Windows phones, but Microsoft has released versions of Cortana for Android (and also for iOS, interestingly enough). Though it might not be at the top of your search list, it’s still worthy of mentioning. Why? For the same reason that Mac users like using Siri on their iPhones. Cortana is the Android assistant for you if you’re using a computer that runs Windows 10, where Microsoft’s assistant is also integrated.
That means that when you use Cortana on both your phone and computer, you can send texts from either device. The same goes for vocal requests. Equipped with voice recognition technology, you can talk to Cortana on your computer as easily as you would on your smartphone. You can even set reminders on your PC, and Cortana will remind you of them on your phone. Searching for competitors is relatively easy (just start searching the Google Play Store), but Cortana is a surprisingly compelling candidate for a great voice assistant for Android. In fact, Cortana may be a better Siri for Android than Siri if you’re a Windows 10 user.
6. Dragon Mobile Assistant for Android
Dragon Mobile Assistant is another great option when you’re looking for a capable alternative to Siri for Android. This Android assistant is powered by Nuance Communications, a respected name in speech recognition technology. (An area where Siri tends to struggle for many users.) You’ll see that technology in action with Dragon Mobile Assistant. You’ll even start to wonder why you wanted a Siri app for Android in the first place.
With Dragon Mobile Assistant, you can send and receive text messages, post Facebook and Twitter updates, and send emails — all hands-free. Need to know the weather or inquire about your upcoming appointments? Dragon Mobile Assistant has you covered! You can also use it to set reminders, make appointments, and search the internet. And don’t worry if your phone screen is locked. You can still access the Android assistant anytime by turning on the Attentive Mode. One feature that we think really makes a difference in its functionality, though, is the ability to create a “voiceprint” so that your assistant will only listen to your commands. And to make the conversation even more personal, you can choose a voice and create a name for your assistant.
HOUND is an app that demonstrates that the best alternative to Siri that Android users can access may not look much like Siri at all. This Android assistant’s Google Play Store description calls it a “voice search and assistant” utility. So it’s probably not at all surprising that HOUND takes its voice search functionality pretty seriously. You can search using your voice by speaking naturally, not in keywords. And you can pose follow-up questions, sort the results, or add more information to get a more specific answer.
HOUND can also be used to control music playback, catch up on the news, make phone calls, and send text messages. Plus, this assistant for Android can expertly handle your web searches and update you with the latest weather information. If you’re looking for new places to eat or drink at, you can ask it for restaurants, coffee shops, and other establishment recommendations. (And you can exclude the ones you don’t like or don’t want.) Need help with directions or requesting an Uber? HOUND can help you out with both, making you feel like you’ve found Siri for Android.
Who doesn’t want an Android assistant that has the same name as the superpowered AI in Iron Man? OK, so the version of Jarvis that you can download from the Google Play Store isn’t the same one that Tony Stark has. But if an important criterion in finding Siri-esque Android competitors is in finding an assistant that sounds cooler than Siri, then Jarvis may be the right choice for you. As the Google Play Store description explains, this assistant for Android offers “a cool factor like none other in the store.”
You can access Jarvis from the lock screen thanks to its widget support. It can set alarms, make calls, send text messages, and get voice notifications about the weather, the news, your phone’s battery status, and its power levels. With full control of your phone settings, including Wi-Fi, Jarvis can control media playback, conduct searches, and enable you to link reminders to specific contacts. Have an Android Wear device? It’ll run on it. Being contextually aware, this Android assistant can even take part in “dynamic conversations” that offer a touch of humor.
Robin’s Google Play Store description calls it the “Siri Challenger.” That doesn’t mean that it’s exactly the same thing as Siri for Android. But Robin is a pretty useful Android assistant. The app has garnered positive reviews from a variety of different sources. In fact, according to its Google Play Store description, Robin “has more personality than other voice search products, assistants, chat bots or messenger bots. Robin gives your smartphone a smarter character.”
You can ask Robin for directions or nearby places. Get the latest traffic report or information on where to park. Or stay connected with your friends via Facebook or Twitter. Plus, you can use Robin to call, text, or email your contacts. It’ll even handle your inquiries about restaurants’ ratings or help you find the cheapest gas station in your area. One thing to take note of is that Robin may not be able to complete some of the tasks that are supported by voice assistants that are directly integrated into the operating system.
If you aren’t a fan of handing over tons of personal data to a tech industry giant, Robin may be the kind of alternative to Siri for Android that’s perfect for you. Especially if you primarily need an Android assistant to help you out when you’re driving — a situation in which Robin excels.
10. Smart Voice Assistant
Smart Voice Assistant isn’t the perfect analogue to Siri for Android. But if you like your Android device because it enables you to get exactly what you want, this is a great assistant to try. When you first install it, Smart Voice Assistant will show you a variety of features, for which you can activate voice commands. For instance, you can assign your own keywords to particular features, and set nicknames for contacts and phone numbers.
Of course that also means that you’ll need to spend a little bit of time setting up this Android assistant. But once you’ve spent the time telling it exactly what you want it to be able to do, it’s an extremely useful alternative to a hypothetical Siri app for Android. Even if they like Siri, Android users often love the customizable nature of their OS. Anyone who enjoys tinkering with settings to get things exactly right is probably going to love Smart Voice Assistant. It might not be the most polished app out of the bunch, but it’s great if you want the control that a faithful Siri Android copycat wouldn’t give you.