Virtual assistants for mobile devices

Voice control and other assisting features are making more of a mark on today's mobile devices.

James Martin/CNET

Voice control apps for cell phones have been around for years before Apple launched Siri, but they've only this year come to the fore on Android with the same kind of energy and attention. Samsung introduced S Voice, its own take on Siri's spoken and card-form response. Unfortunately, Samsung's S Voice couldn't compare, though the device-maker continues preinstalling the S Voice app on its newer smartphones.

Google's redesigned Search app with voice actions fared much better against Siri, and version Android 4.1 of the OS also includes Google Now, a system of predictive alerts based on your whereabouts. For its part, Apple's iOS 6 gave Siri some more powers in 2012, including promises of in-car integration, a hardware feature we won't see in operation until at least 2013.

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