How Siri almost became Verizon -- and Android -- only

Siri was almost a staple of Verizon Android devices

Siri very nearly became a staple of the Droid line of Android phones before Apple purchased the company in 2010. Originally a standalone app available for iPhone, Verizon had signed a deal with Siri in late 2009 in order to put the service on every Droid phone, but the deal was cancelled after Apple purchased Siri for themselves. According to the Huffington Post:

When Apple swooped in to buy Siri, it insisted on making the assistant exclusive to Apple devices, and nixed the Verizon deal. In the process, it narrowly avoided seeing Siri become a selling point for smartphones powered by its biggest rival, Google.

Though the deal with Apple eventually found Siri integrated right into iOS itself, there have been sacrifices made in order to see that happen. Expanding the capabilities of Siri has been slowed in order to make the localization process easier, enabling Apple to put Siri on as many iOS devices around the world as possible. In fact, the current iteration of Siri has lacks some of the capabilities and context awareness that made the original app so impressive. Siri only regained the ability to make restaurant reservations with iOS 6. While Apple is continually tweaking and making improvements to Siri, it’s difficult not to wish for the Siri that was.

While some might worry that Siri has lost some of its more powerful advocates within Apple, which included Steve Jobs and Scott Forstall, Apple still seems to be committed to the project. A recent Apple job posting indicates that Apple is looking to expand Siri’s personality, something that is key for successful interaction and engagement with users. If Apple plays it right, Siri could rise to new heights, and become more than just a nice addition to iOS, but an essential part of the Apple experience.

Source: The Huffington Post, The Verge, Android Central

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Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is a news reporter for iMore. He's also chilling out and having a sandwich.

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How Siri almost became Verizon -- and Android -- only

9 Comments

Had Google wanted Siri as a selling point, they would have made overtures to buy Siri themselves. As we know now, however, Google had been working on technology to back Google Now well before Siri's public release, at least since the days of their 411 service.

So V-Siri would not have been a selling point for Google, but for Verizon. It would have become some secondary partial solution like S-Voice, except that Verizon would have been more aggressive favoring V-Siri over Google Now on Verizon handsets, creating a big cluster@#$.

If anything, Apple did Google a favor buy taking this possibility away from Verzion.

Google employs the co-creator of Nuance, I think. Combine that with their superb data engines and as you say, they had all the elements.

Yup, Google had all the elements, but on Android Verizon had/has the power to come in and screw things up. And we all know Verizon would have tried, so Apple buying Siri was a win-win :)

Correction: they STILL HAVE all the elements, and Google Now goes well beyond anything Siri can hope to accomplish anytime soon... if ever.

I think it's a VERY good thing -- for Android users, at least -- that Verizon failed to acquire Siri...

Unless there is some dramatic enhancements coming in iOS 7 Siri has underachieved at best. I downloaded the Google search app and its voice function is vastly superior. Siri is almost a gimmick at this point. Hopefully Apple is going to change this.

I wouldn't call one "vastly superior" to the other at this point. Siri aggravates me when I'm not on wifi and Google search seems much quicker and has a more pleasant voice when responding.

On the other hand, I don't find that Google search handles context as well as Siri. For example, if I ask Google search "What's the current weather?" It answers fine (with my current location). But then if I follow up with "What about tomorrow" (or try to change the city by asking "what about in West Palm Beach" it forgets I'm still talking about the weather. Siri handles this much better (assuming she's not talking one of her annoying unscheduled "I'm sorry I can't answer that right now" breaks.

Both services could stand some improvements so I hope they keep at each other's throats. We, the consumers, will win in the end.