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How to get Siri on iPhone 4, iPad or iPod touch

Love Siri on the new iPhone 4S, but want to use it on an iPhone 4, iPod touch or iPad? Don’t worry, we’ve got some ideas…

When Apple announced the iPhone 4S, it also announced Siri as a feature for iPhone 4S only. If you’ve got an older iPhone, or even an iPad or iPod touch, there are a few ways you can still get in on the voice control game.

Siri on iPhone 4 and iPad

As I mentioned in my article about Siri last week, Siri isn’t new and was originally developed as an app for iPhone 4. a few keen developers are working on a way to get Siri to work on the older iPhone. So far, they’ve got the software running, but can’t get it to connect to the Apple servers to do all the cool stuff. If you really want to run Siri on your iPhone 4, you should keep an eye on their progress – they may get lucky. UPDATE: It looks like the iPad has now been given the Siri treatment, but it still can’t connect to the servers.

Get Siri-like functionality on iPhone 4, iPad 2 or iPod touch

If you don’t want to go to hack the Siri software in the hopes of one day getting it working on your non-4S Apple hardware, I completely understand. But don’t worry, the App Store is full of great Siri alternatives. Here are a few of my favourites to get you started.

Vlingo voice control app

Vlingo is probably the closest alternative to Siri available in the App Store. You can use it to perform web or local business searches, send texts or emails or even update your social networks. The interface isn’t as polished as Siri, and of course it isn’t as tightly integrated into the phone software, but it works well, and I’ve found it quite useful.

Dragon Dictation

Dragon NaturallySpeaking has been the go-to brand name in desktop voice recognition for years, and Dragon Dictation brings that technology to any iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 4 or better.

Dragon Dictation is really well designed for composing and editing long pieces of text using your voice. You can easily move between dictating and editing your text, then copy it out of the app, or send it to an SMS, email, Twitter or Facebook.

Google Search app and Google Translate

Google have been pushing the boundaries of speech recognition for years now, and it’s been built in to it’s Android mobile operating system for a while. They’re probably a bit annoyed that apple so easily leapt ahead of them with Siri, but they’ve still released some great voice-controlled apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

The Google Search app lets you say your search query out loud and works really well. Google Translate is really futuristic – you can speak in on language, get your message translated in to any one of 50 languages, and then hear it spoken back in that language. It requires an internet connection, which slightly limits its usefulness on foreign trips, and it sometimes makes some funny mistakes, but as a backup it can really help communication.

Talk to your phone, Siri-style

So, now you have a few options for using Siri-style voice control on iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, so enjoy the sometimes funny responses. Now you just have to figure out how to not look like you’re talking to yourself on the bus!

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