|Cluzee is the latest attempt to replicate the Siri experience on Android.|
Developed by startup Tronton and touted as a "talking intelligent personal digital assistant," Cluzee attempts to step up where other alternatives fall short. The free app is available now for devices running Android 2.1 or higher and has already gotten attention in the tech community.
As you'll see in the video below, Cluzee is designed to answer simple questions with real, helpful responses. Need to find a nearby pizza joint or check the weather forecast for the next few days? Cluzee is the app to handle not only these requests but many other tasks as well. The app also reads e-mails and text messages aloud, converts voice to text, and even searches for deals that fall in line with your buying habits.
I've spent some time with Cluzee and already appreciate the application for what it does and how it handles commands. However, I've also seen some of its limitations and can see plenty of opportunity for future updates.
For example, I told Cluzee, "Remind me to call Mom tomorrow at 1 o'clock." The app recognized my request down to the word, but I still had to pick the time and adjust the date before confirming it on my calendar. In another instance, when I tried booking a hotel in San Francisco for June 25, 2012, the app merely opened a page for me to manually enter data. Commands to "Find hotels" or "Locate hotels" yielded a similar response.
Where I find Cluzee to be a fun and useful application is in its ability to find deals based on location. Powered by Groupon and Yipit, Cluzee found a number of savings on products and services in my area. What's more, I enjoyed being able to log my food eaten and track meals and calories and even set goals.
Also, dictating a Twitter update or Facebook status message is relatively easy and intuitive, though it still feels like there might be a step or two to eliminate along the way.
In terms of Siri counterparts for Android, Cluzee can already be considered one of the best options available. Sure, it has a ways to go before it can really match up against the iPhone 4S' killer feature, but it is a decent version 1.0 offering. The app's colors and layout are nice and the welcome screen recalls Vlingo's early splash screens with a list of commands and options.
If there were one feature I would add to the next release, it would be a simple widget button that I could add to my home screen. It doesn't make much sense to open the app just to push another button. Call me lazy or spoiled, but I expected to be one tap away from adding appointments to my calendar.
For all the things Cluzee is designed to do, it handles some of them very well. It simply takes a bit of experimenting to figure out what you can and cannot ask the app to do for you.