Love it or hate it, Apple's Siri doesn't have to be the be-all and end-all of smart personal assistants. Check out these solid apps.
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Unlike Siri, Evi sports a British accent. Like Siri, the app uses natural language processing. But Evi also uses semantic search technology: It goes beyond matching the words you speak or type when you run a search and tries to understand the inference behind the question. Then Evi analyzes the information pulled from various sources to come up with the most accurate answer to your query, responding in a conversational style. You can also initiate a call, send email or an SMS using voice commands. Evi includes a comprehensive tutorial, which provides samples of how you can rephrase queries; for instance, if Evi can't understand you the first time. At one time, Evi cost 99 cents, but it's free for now -- and the app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad running iOS 5.0 or later.
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