Voice control has come on leaps and bounds in the last couple of years and while Siri has definitely made it ok to be talking to our phones, Apple and the iPhone shouldn't be able to hog all the limelight as Android has had the capability to do something like this for a while now. Andy is one such app that take advantage of this and is able to answer a whole host of questions, and help you get through the day-to-day. Read on to find out more.
Description: Andy can be thought of as Android's Siri; it will answer a number of questions, respond to specific commands, program calendar events, set alarms, it will tell you where you are, find you the nearest Starbucks, convert currency and more. For a full and exhaustive list of what Andy can do, head over to their website. The more you use Andy, the more uses you'll find for the app.
How it Works: To get started with Andy, you'll have to head to the Play Store and download the app. It's a short download and the set-up afterwards is very easy. Once you have everything ready, just hit the microphone and ask Andy a question:
You can see that the app understands what you've said in the strip at the top and the answer is laid out below. You can start off with simple things like the question above or you can ask it something a little more advanced, like a calender event:
Pretty neat, right? There are also a few settings you can tweak when you hit the gear in the top-right corner:
This settings menu has some pretty useful features inside of it, for instance if you turn Voice Recognition off, you can just type your questions in, which is perfect if you're always listening to music or working at the library:
Some of the uses for Andy are really, really useful. Let's say you want to play a music or a particular song – just ask Andy:
Speaking of gas, if you're driving then you might be connected to a Bluetooth headset, which might cause problems for other voice recognition apps but, Andy has no problem with Bluetooth and supports the use of Bluetooth headsets:
There are a whole host of things that you can ask Andy – take a look at a selection of them below, if you swing by their website, http://www.andyforandroid.com/ you can see the whole list of questions and commands.
- Open Android Applications using simple voice commands
- Android Functions (control Android features and functions by voice)
- Hands free Emailing, Texting and Calling
- Browse Internet using voice commands
- Coordinates (get your current coordinates, down to a nearest address)
- Currency Conversions (Live exchange rates)
- Word Definitions (get definitions)
- Directions to Nearest Place (restaurant, bank, …)
- Distance Measurements (from one place to another)
- Live Stock Quotes (in USD)
- Live Gold, Silver, Platinum, Palladium Spot Price (in USD)
- Math Functions (huge variety of math functions supported)
- Music (play music just by saying the name of the song or name of the band)
- Personalization (teach Andy your name)
- Search Google (opens Google with your search term pre-filled)
- Search Google Photos & Youtube Videos
- Set Alarms & Wake Up times
- Set Reminders (at specific time) or (in days/hours/minutes)
- Weather (Live weather for your location + suggestions answer to questions such as: Do I need an umbrella, etc.)
Opinion: I've really grown fond of Google Now and the sorts of things it can offer me so, it was difficult for me to approach Andy at first. It's not difficult to see that the inspiration has come mostly from Siri, and it's not trying to replace Google Now – which is good, because it couldn't – and it serves a number of functions pretty well. A lot of its charm perhaps comes from being able to get some more obscure answers straight away: calculating a tip for how ever many people at the table is great for instance. I'm not sure how often I'd use this everyday but, there is a lot on offer here and it doesn't necessarily feel gimmicky.
- Speed (3/5) – Sometimes questions or commands are dealt with very quickly but others take a long time to finish.
- Features (4/5) – There's no denying that Andy has a wide variety of questions and commands he can respond to. There's a long list but you can always just try something, and it usually gets what you're saying.
- Theme (3/5) – The look and feel of Andy could really use some work, it's not ugly or anything but compared to Google Now and other apps it's not that much of a looker.
- Overall (4/5) – Andy has his flaws but, overall it's a decent app and being able to ask questions to get a plain response back is refreshing.
- There are a lot of things the app will respond to quite snappily.
- It works just like you think it does.
- Andy had no problem with my British accent.
- A question or command is dealt with very quickly indeed.
- Documentation is endless, if you're looking for more questions to ask then check out their website for an exhaustive list of things to deal with.
- The app looks fine but it really could do with a fresh theme.
- Sometimes questions would take a long time to be answered.
Conclusion: There's a lot to love about Andy and while it's not going to replace Google Now for a lot of people, it certainly has a lot for those looking for something like Siri. Questions are answered quickly – for the most part – and there really is a vast range of questions the app will understand. If you want to ask your phone a quick question, this is the app to do it with, you could do it in Google Now but, that's more of a search than anything else. To get a quick and concise answer, turn to Andy – he's more than happy to help!