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Siri Knock-Offs Invade Android Market

Some of the apps go to great lengths to pass themselves off as an Apple-sanctioned product.

Apple has no plans to bring Siri to other platforms, but that's not stopping some Android app developers from ripping off the product, right down to the icons and sound effects.

A new app called "Siri for Android" is nothing more than a home screen icon that opens up Android's standard voice command prompt. The developer's name is "Official App," which could obviously be misinterpreted as an Apple-sanctioned product. The app has already been installed more than 1,000 times, The Next Web reports.

Electronista noticed another Siri knock-off called "Speerit." Although the name is different, Speerit bills itself as "REAL Siri for Android." It uses Siri's icons and sound effects, but I couldn't tell how it works because it's only available in Korean. "We have a plan to support english (sic) later. Don't be sad," the developer, Viewide, says on the app's Android Market listing.

Another wannabee, Fake Siri for Android, doesn't respond to voice commands or perform any tasks. It merely copies the Siri interface and says nice things about Android in a computerized female voice. "This app is created just for fun," the developer, Kelvin KYChan, writes.

One of these fake Siri apps began sending "free iPad" spam to my notification bar shortly after installing it. I'm yet sure which one, but to be safe I recommend not installing any of them.

Of course, Siri does have more legitimate competitors on Android, including Iris, Vlingo and Speaktoit Assistant, all of which try to capitalize on Apple's product by putting the word "Siri" in their app descriptions. One app, Skyvi, even puts "Siri for Android" in parenthesis in the app title. But at least these apps aren't stealing Apple's intellectual property.

Siri's knock-offs are an example of how legally questionable content can slip into the Android Market. Google doesn't have an approval process for apps, and while this approach allows legitimate developers to quickly release new apps or updates, it also opens to the door to malware or apps that infringe on copyrights, which Google may then remove. In this case, a complaint from Apple or media attention may cause Google to take action. Hopefully these misleading Siri knock-offs don't last long.

Follow Jared on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ for even more tech news and commentary.


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