Siri has been a big hit for Apple, but as we all know, it runs only on an iPhone 4S. I've been expecting some Siri knock-offs to appear, and now one has that can be used on any iPhone and even the iPad if you don't mind not seeing it full screen.
The app is called Evi by True Knowledge. It's US$0.99 and runs on any iDevice with iOS 4.0 or greater. "Run" is a bit of a misnomer. Evi's speech recognition is powered by Nuance, just like Siri, and the recognition part is first rate. But that's where the good news ends.
Evi has not successfully responded to a single spoken query I've made since yesterday afternoon. Generally the app sits there for awhile, then reports that it is "Thinking about it," followed by "Let me see'" and then, inevitably, "I'm having trouble getting a response from my servers. You might want to try again in a minute." Actually, I don't ever want to try again. Ever.
Reviews at the app store are ugly, with the majority being negative and some are outright hostile. You would think an app maker would have some degree of preparation for what is sure to be a popular offering. I can understand some failures, even Siri fails on a semi-regular basis, but Siri was labelled beta when it came out. Evi is supposed to be ready to go.
This is an app that Apple should quickly pull, not because it competes with Siri (hardly), but because it is simply a complete and utter failure. In frustration I asked Evi if I can get my $0.99 back. Evi replied, "Bear with me" followed by "hang on," "I'm on it" and finally the server failure warning. I guess that would be a "no." Remember, you can't spell 'evil' without Evi.
Check the gallery for some screen grabs of Evi not answering any of my questions.