True Knowledge, the brains behind a popular Siri alternative for iOS devices, received a note from Apple that the company will shoot down the popular 99-cent download from its mobile bazaar. According to TechCrunch, True Knowledge had a call from an Apple representative on Friday evening who informed them the company was “going to pull Evi from the App Store,” citing similarities with Siri.
However, pundits point out that Evi, which couples Nuance-licensed speech recognition engine with its own core semantic search technology dubbed the “True Knowledge Answer Engine,” may pose a threat to the otherwise stellar iPhone 4S sales due to folks running Evi on iPhone 4 being uncompelled to upgrade to an iPhone 4S.
If Apple’s real motivation is similarities and not competition, then perhaps the company should take a closer look at Japan carrier NTT DoCoMo’s new project that is a Siri alternative for non-iPhones.
Evi landed last month as a Siri alternative for owners of iOS devices. The program costs 99-cents and has already raked in 200,000 downloads, proving there is a practical market for search assistants on mobile devices. It is also available on the Android Market, so the App Store removal will not affect its availability on the rival Android platform. Siri owes much of its success to Apple’s top-notch marketing and an advanced artificial intelligence engine Apple scored by acquiring SRI. Shortly upon the iPhone 4S introduction last October, Siri spanned various projects aiming to port her to older iOS devices. She has also inspired similar programs on both Android and Windows Phone platforms.
Update: The Verge chimes in:
Despite what True Knowledge told TechCrunch, the app remains in the App Store, and according to sources familiar with the matter[translation: Apple off the record], Apple is attempting to work with the developers on bumping out those similarities, rather than just pulling the product. It’s apparently standard practice these days for Apple to flag something that could be confusing to end users and then try to work with developers to alter the appearance and / or functionality of the app, and we’re told that’s taking place with True Knowledge right now.
The news that Apple is not too happy about Evi is unsurprising. The Cupertino, Calif.-headquartered company billed Siri as the killer software feature and kept it exclusive to the new iPhone 4S. In fact, ChangeWave Research recently pinned Siri as the No. 1 feature for nearly half the iPhone 4S-toting respondents. Likewise, rival NPD Group discovered that the speech-driven agent helped a great deal to turn iPhone 4S into the top-selling handset last holiday season. According to its study, the new iPhone 4S outsold the now 20-month old iPhone 4 by a whopping 75 percent. Apple’s been advertising Siri like crazy and even bothered to disable hacks that let jailbroken iPhones with the previous-generation A4 chip run Siri. Moreover, if you believe the rumor-mill, the voice assistant is also coming to the rumored Apple-branded television set and may even hit the Mac with the forthcoming OS X Mountain Lion update.
- Another Siri clone hits the Android market (9to5google.com)
- ChangeWave: Siri helps iPhone 4S become the most beloved iPhone yet (9to5mac.com)
- Apple airs two new iPhone 4S TV ads all about Siri: ‘Rock God’ and ‘Road Trip’ (9to5mac.com)