Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Killer features from the future: Siri vs. Android Beam and Face Unlock

Both iOS 5 and Android 4.0 have a futuristic touch — and we're not just talking glowing blue tones either. With iOS 5, Apple introduced us to Siri, a voice command and search app that's almost eerily sophisticated. You can speak into your iPhone 4S and ask Siri anything you want (really, anything!) and Siri speaks the information you need — or least a quirky retort. Android has boasted handy built-in voice commands for longer, but Siri is far more comprehensive and far closer to being sentient.

Paired with the futurescape of its new look, Android 4.0 introduces two very cool little bonus features: Android Beam and Face Unlock. If you've ever used the clever app Bump to swap phone numbers, Beam is the exact same idea, but expanded. With Beam, you can tap two phones together and watch as websites, videos, directions, and apps are zapped from one phone to the other.

Face Unlock for Android 4.0 is a trick that could prove pretty useful in securing your phone from prying eyes. Using Google's face recognition technology, you can unlock your phone just by peering into the front-facing camera and having your face recognized.

Winner: Siri Both Apple and Android's new futuristic features have some inherent limitations. Siri is only available for the iPhone 4S, and isn't open to all iOS 5 users. Android Beam will debut on the new flagship Galaxy Nexus phone, and then be possible between any two Android 4.0 phones that have a Near-Field Communication (NFC) chip or sticker. Unfortunately, knowing Google's checkered past with Android updates and its ongoing struggles with its grab bag of Android makers, it's hard to say how long it'll be before the stars will align for Beam.

No comments: