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Siri was meant for Android phones until Apple stepped in

Siri was born in the military and was supposed to be built into Android phones -- until Apple flashed the cash.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Expertise Films, TV, Movies, Television, Technology
Richard Trenholm
2 min read
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Siri was born in the military and was supposed to be built into Android phones. Yes, things could have been very different for the voice-activated question-answering app built into the iPhone had Apple not bought the company.

Siri's secret military background is revealed in a fascinating Huffington Post article. Like Johnny 5, the SRI project became Siri, escaping into the real world and probably learning a little bit about what it means to love.

Siri launched to the iPhone-owning public in early 2010, as an iPhone app. Siri soon became famous for its character and dry wit, served up in text replies telling you, "I don't want to talk about it", if asked about its ill-fated computerised compadre HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Three weeks later Steve Jobs called.

Apple bought the company and relaunched Siri as a voice app minus the dry wit, but with added integration to iPhone features.

But Apple wasn't first to spot Siri's potential. Before Siri had even launched as an app, the company signed a deal with US phone network Verizon to pre-install Siri on the network's Droid lineup of Android phones, built by Motorola and HTC.

Verizon went so far as making adverts for Siri on Android before Apple flashed the cash to ensure Siri's voice-controlled personal assistant was exclusive to the iPhone when it first appeared on the iPhone 4S.

Of course, not everyone's impressed with Siri's capabilities since Apple took over. Even Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says it was better before it was snapped up for the iPhone

. But Apple is looking to bring back some of that ol'-timey Siri cheek by hiring a wordsmith to add character to Siri. Perhaps if it has more of a personality we might attempt a second date...

Watch this: How to date Siri

Do you use Siri or is it just a gimmick? Would Siri have been better on Android? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.