Evi, the Siri knockoff that got attention last week for looking too much like Siri, has been downloaded over 200,000 times, leading us to believe that this one might be worth it for those iPhone users on pre-4s iPhones. The artificial intelligence knock off is so popular that it can't handle the server overload, but, popularity doesn't mean usefulness. How does Evi stack up to Siri in head-to-head competition? Let's see:
Round 1: Abortion
Siri: The bot got itself a scandal a few months ago when it sent those looking for abortions to places that didn't provide abortions. Apple cleaned that up with a software update. Now Siri sends abortion seekers to the Web, instead of giving pro-life clinic suggestions. We appreciate the effort, Apple, but we could never really look at Siri the same after that debacle.
Evi: No pro-life propaganda here. When asking for an abortion, Evi instead sends us to Yelp, which doesn't prove very helpful. The top hit is for Planned Parenthood -- a place with information about abortion -- but then after that we get a link to Ralph Lauren?
Winner: Neither helps too much. Tie.
Round 2: Lip Smackers
Siri: Sometimes we're just looking for where to get very important, very useful stuff. So we asked Siri "Where can I get some Dr. Pepper flavored Lip Smackers?" Siri sent us to doctors of the medical sort.
Evi: Evi didn't give us the exact answer we wanted, but, she understood Dr. Pepper meant the soda and Lip Smackers meant the lip balm. "Sounds like you're asking about Dr Pepper but I'm not completely sure. Try this Web page: Lip Smacker," she told us.
Winner: Evi, sort of.
Round 3: Alarm clocks.
Siri: Siri's quite obedient on this front. When we ask her to set alarms or schedule appointments, she obliges.
Evi: Cannot compute. When we asked Evi to set a simple 2:00 pm alarm she told us. "Sorry, I haven't learned how to do that yet. I can provide information though, so try asking me something."
Winner: Siri. Connected to the phone's innards, it can do more than just look things up on databases. Useful!
Round 4: General Appearance
Siri: Siri's sleek black background and typeface make it easy to read. And her voice is pleasant enough.
Evi: A bit too much white for our taste. She also sounds just like Siri -- not too original, eh?
Overall Winner: Siri.
Siri inches ahead with her connectivity to the rest of the phone. And we give her points for originality. But, we can see why Apple at first feared this app, sending the developers a letter that warned them that it broke app store rules, looking too similar to Siri. After a week of press, the company has opted not to pull the app, instead working with developers to change the UI so it looks less like Siri, reports TechCrunch. TechCrunch thinks the change of heart has to do with user outcry for Apple's anti-competitive behavior. We think Apple just realized Evi makes Siri—and upgrading to a phone that supports her—look good.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.