Siri recommends another phone as best ever

Apple might want to have a talk with its digital assistant, which seems to have a thing for the competition.

By Kim Peterson May 11, 2012 1:56PM
Siri's dubious recommendation. Credit: Kim PetersonOh, Siri, you're such a humble gal.

The Siri voice recognition software on Apple's (AAPL) iPhone 4S can tell you a lot of things, including what is the best smartphone ever. But her answer probably won't make Apple happy.

When asked "What is the best smartphone ever?" Siri doesn't mention the iPhone. Instead, it recommends Nokia's (NOK) Lumia 900 4G on AT&T's (T) network. And Siri apparently prefers cyan, recommending that color above the others.

Various news sites reported this discovery Friday. I tested it on an iPhone, and it seriously took about 14 tries to get the same result. (The other 13 times, Siri kept asking to call a local glass company. Grrrr.) I took the above photo of the result. CNET reports that its staffers tried the same question and got Yelp (YELP) results in response.

But when you ask Siri "What is the best smartphone?" it gives the right answer (for Apple at least). "The one you're holding," it responds. It's just the word "ever" that screws up the query.

Siri gets many of its answers from Wolfram Alpha, which will tell searchers that the Lumia 900 is the best smartphone. Wolfram Alpha is a site that tries to provide direct answers to questions instead of directing them to a website full of results. But Wolfram Alpha came to its conclusion based on a handful of reviews from the Best Buy (BBY) site.

This whole exercise is quite silly, but it's getting cheers from Nokia and Microsoft (MSFT) fans who are tired of all the iPhone love out there. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)

"The news is heartening in its own way, as it shows that Apple didn't attempt to tweak the answer to what is likely an oft-asked question," VentureBeat observes.

The bigger lesson, VentureBeat adds , is that you shouldn't use Siri or Wolfram Alpha for device recommendations.

The "Today" show puts Siri through its paces in the following video.


22Comments
May 14, 2012 10:37AM
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Do iPhone owners really need to justify their purchases by asking their phone "What is the best smartphone ever?"...

This should be the new question...

"mirror mirror on the wall who's the lamest phone owners of them all"


May 11, 2012 5:14PM
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Looks to me like the real story here is that Siri got the question wrong 13 out of 14 times.
May 11, 2012 6:15PM
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Siri may be on to something. My wife has a Lumia 900 and I must admit that I like it better than my iPhone 4s. Unfortunately I have to be an "iFan" until April 2013 (contract expires)

 

 

May 11, 2012 2:39PM
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 "The news is heartening in its own way, as it shows that Apple didn't attempt to tweak the answer to what is likely an oft-asked question," VentureBeat observes.

Wait a second... didn't you say... oh yes! 2 paragraphs before...

(But when you ask Siri "What is the best smartphone?" it gives the right answer. "The one you're holding," it responds. It's just the word "ever" that screws up the query.)

Let's play Spot the iFan...

May 11, 2012 5:06PM
May 11, 2012 3:28PM
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The bigger lesson, VentureBeat adds , is that you shouldn't use Siri or Wolfram Alpha for device recommendations. 
Huh? 
So what you're saying is, because Siri or WA didn't give the answer you wanted to hear, they're worthless. Nice.
May 14, 2012 9:36AM
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Not true.  When I asked Suri, 'what is the best smart phone ever?'  Her response was "Wait...there are other phones?"  Pretty funny Suri!
May 11, 2012 3:51PM
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I just put this question into Wolfram Alpha and it, too, came up with the Nokia Lumina 900, Cyan!
May 11, 2012 3:41PM
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" But when you ask Siri "What is the best smartphone?" it gives the right answer. "

"Right answer"?  Right from whos perpective?  Author's perspective? 

 

So, it's not just Apple response that is tweaked, but also the author's perspective...?

May 14, 2012 3:28PM
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I'll never buy iAnything. Overpriced and overhyped.
May 14, 2012 2:01PM
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I thought it was my accent she couldn't understand, I feel so much better nowl.
May 11, 2012 6:11PM
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Siri is the biggest piece of CRAP. Never works @ home or on the road. Works perfectly @ Apple store,nowhere else.
May 11, 2012 5:14PM
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Looks to me like the real story here is that Siri got the question wrong 13 out of 14 tmes.
May 14, 2012 5:01PM
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....the dumbing down of America!!!!  Siri what is 1+1... Siri should I get out of bed today....

May 14, 2012 11:44AM
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Siri is seriously defective.  I start to send a message which begins with: When you get off work, go to,ETC.ETC.

 

This is what Siri has to say about that:  DEAD BODY, go to, etc,etc.  Go figure on how this can even begin to sound alike!!!   Too funny!!! Glad I always chexk my messages before sending

May 14, 2012 3:19PM
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Samsung: Charge... Love it !

BTW,.. I just ask Google.

May 14, 2012 7:45PM
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Android will always be superior to the iphone I'll list the reasons.
1. You can use any app out there, it don't have to be from the market.
2. You can root the phone to do what ever you want to and not be stuck with apples crap you can even over clock the cpu.
3. You can change the os on the phone with a custom rom take out the bloat ware or make it faster or upgrade the os from say gingerbread to ice cream sandwich.
4. Only androids are coming out with quad and sixcore cpus for the phones iphones are stuck with dual cores.
5. With music you can add any mp3 you got,  with the iphone your stuck with itunes and not be able to listen to your mp3 on any other machine you own (Andorid don't have no DRM crap that iphone forces on you).

That right there is the top 5 reason android is the best smartphone out there and always will be.

May 14, 2012 4:28PM
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i had the iphone 4s and it was a waste of money. went back to android after a few days of crappy signle and crapy data speeds
Sep 27, 2012 10:43PM
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Android is far superior, i helped set up my friends iphone 4s i personally own a galaxy note. The difference is night and day. My note is a super mini computer phone useing the iphone was a bit like something that was used years ago i couldnt believe the over hyped user experience. Move on people and discover what all my friends use on android. video calling kindle books and you can read it like a book on the note. Email thats brilliant and readable google chrome browser. Navigon offline maps voice guided which is a navman, google maps voice guided now with 3d maps and offline as well, and my device was upgraded to ics a few months ago so i have face unlock now, and jellybean will roll on quickly and cant wait for google now voice actions, slaying siri silly :) on the internet. My mate who owns a iphone had a friend who wanted to know where she will meet him in a txt and he didnt know how he would show her. I opened up my note and said give me the destination i typed it in my snote which brought up google maps and the destination i pened in here is the place and saved and sent as an email or mms msg. It showed the map on how to get to her destination BRILLIANT
May 12, 2012 12:25AM
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Apple did a software upgrade on the iPhone 4s earlier today.  You will not get the Nokia answer any longer.  Siri now says: I think you know the answer to that question.   Is there another phone?

 

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