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Android chief: 'A phone shouldn't be an assistant'

Android's Andy Rubin doesn't think your phone should be your assistant, but does praise Apple for bringing Siri out at the right time.

The war of words continues. After Microsoft's Steve Ballmer slammed Android as being for computer scientists, Android's Andy Rubin has a choice word or two about Siri, Apple's voice-controlled virtual assistant.

"I don't believe your phone should be an assistant," Rubin said in an interview, reports AllThingsD. "Your phone is a tool for communicating. You shouldn't be communicating with the phone; you should be communicating with somebody on the other side of the phone."

So, doesn't sound like Android will be getting its own version of Siri anytime soon. He wasn't completely against the voice-controlled assistant though. On the question of whether people will use it or not, he said, "To some degree it is natural for you to talk to your phone," though how much people will trust a piece of technology over a human, he's not so sure. "We'll see how pervasive it gets," he said, somewhat mysteriously.

Rubin also pointed out one of the Android co-founders, Rich Miner, had a text-to-speech company called Wildfire, while General Magic also tried its hand with its precursor to the PDA. "This isn't a new notion," he said. But he praised Apple for its timing. "In projecting the future, I think Apple did a good job of figuring out when the technology was ready to be consumer-grade." As Apple tends to do.

Apple bought Siri last year and integrated it into the iPhone 4S. Apple then sassed it up a bit to give it some more personality. It doesn't work fully in the UK due to Apple not signing up any local info providers, but that should all change next year. It also shares your nickname with your contacts, and give out personal info when your phone is locked.

Is Rubin right about Siri? And would you like something similar for Android? Let us know on our Facebook page.